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Collotd Herbois

Collot d'Herbois, Jean-Marie (1750-1796), a French republican, statesman, mountainist, meniber of the Convention, and member of the Committee of Public Safety. He was born of an ordinary family, and became an actor, achieving a certain amount of dramatic success. In 1792 his Almanack du Pere Gerard, written to advance and explain revolutionary principles, brought him into notice, and he was elected deputy. He proposed the abolition of royalty, and he voted for the death of the king. In 1793 he became a member of the Committee of Public Safety. Later he was sent with Fouche to carry out the decree of the Convention with regard to Lyons, i.e. to destroy it and change its name. They destroyed the ramparts and forts and a few houses, and as a quick way of getting rid of those found guilty of enmity to the Republic, they shot 339 people, acquitting, however, more than 1,800 accused. An idle tale has been set about that Collot d'Herbois did this because he was hissed at Lyons as an actor. Not only is there no proof of this, but the balance of evidence shows that he had been a popular actor there. An attempt to assassinate Collot on his return increased his popularity and also the dislike of Robespierre for him. He was in Robespierre's proscription list, and took part in the movement that overthrew him. Nevertheless he was shortly afterwards denounced and banished to Cayenne, where he soon died.