Petion De Villeneuve
potion assembly june
PETION DE VILLENEUVE, JEitemE (1753-1794), was the son of a proeureur at Chartres, where he waa born in 1753. He himself became an avocat in his native place in 1778, and at once began to try to make a name in litera-ture. His first printed work was an essay, Sur les -ifoyens de proven& l'Infanticide, which failed to gain the prize for which it was composed, but pleased Brissot so much that he printed it in vol. vii. of his Bibliotheque philosopltique des Legislateurs. Potion's next works, Les Lois Civiles, and Esscci sur le Harictge, in which he advocated the marriage of priests, confirmed his position as a bold reformer, and when the elections to the States-General took place in 1789 lie was elected a deputy to the Tiers Etat for Chartres. Both in the assembly of the Tiers Etat and in the Con-stituent Assembly- Potion showed himself a radical leader. He supported Mirabeau on 2:3d June, attacked the queen on rith October, and was elected president on 4th December 1790. On 21st June 1791 Ire was chosen one of three commissioners appointed to bring back tbe king froin Varcnnes. After the last meeting of the assembly on 30th September 1791 Robespierre and Petion were made the popular heroes and were crowned by- the populace with civic crowns. Potion received a still further proof of the affection of the Parisians for himself on 14th November 1791, when he »-as ele,eted second mayor of Paris in succession to Bailly. In his mayoralty he exhibited clearly his republican tendency and his hatred of the old monarchy, especially-on 20th June 1792, when Ile allowed the mob to overrun the Tuileries and insult the royal family. For neglecting to protect the Tuileries Ile was suspended from bis func-tions by the Directory of the department of the Seine, but the leaders of the Legislative Assembly felt that Petion's cause was theirs, and rescinded the suspension on 13th July. On 3d August, at the head of the municipality of Paris, Petion demanded the dethronement of the king, and on 10th Augnst, while the monarchy was falling with the Tuileries, he patiently underwent a form of detention in his own mairie. He was still mayor of Paris when the mas-sacres of September in the prisons took place, and must bear the Maine of not having endeavoured to interfere. He was elected to the Convention for Eure-et-Loir, and became its first president. Manuel then had the folly to propose that the president of the Assembly should have the same authority as the president of the United States ; his proposition was at once rejected, but Potion got the nickname of "Roi Petion," which contributed to his fall. His jealousy of Robespierre allied him to the Girondin party, as did also his assiduous attention at Madame Roland's salon. With the Girondins he voted for the king's death and for the appeal to the people, as one of them lie was elected to the first committee of general defence in 3Iarch 1793, as their representative he attacked Robespierre on 12th April, and it is no matter of wonder, therefore, that his name was among those of the twenty-two Girondin deputies proscribed on 2d June. Petion was one of those who escaped to Caen and raised the standard of provincial insurrection against the Convention ; and when the Norman rising failed lie fled with Guadet, Buzot, Barbaroux, Salle, and Louvet to the Gironde, and hid in a grotto at St Emilion. At last, but a month before Robespierre's fall in June 1794, the escaped deputies felt themselves tracked down, and deserted the grotto ; Louvet found his way- to Paris, Salle and Guadet to Bordeaux, where they were soon taken ; Barbaroux committed suicide ; and the bodies of Potion and Buzot were found in a field, half-eaten by wolves.
For Ntion's published works, see the edition of his (neves, 3 vols., 1792 ; for his life, see the ridiculons eulogy in J. J. Regnault-Warin's Vie de Pegioa, 1792, and Mintoires ineelits de Rtion _Winans de Bitzot et de Barbaromr, with an introduction by C. A. Dauban, 1866 ; and for his last days and death, see C. Yatel, Char-lotte Corday et les Giro-Milts, 3 vols., 1872.