Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Desmonlins, Benoit Camille (1760-1794), a pamphleteer, journalist, and orator of the French Revolutionary period. He was born at Guise in the province of Picardy, the province that produced Peter the Hermit, Calvin, the Guises, and St. Simon. He obtained an exhibition at the College of Louis le Grand, and here he had Robespierre as a fellow- exhibitioner. A study of the history of Athens and of Rome gave them an admiration of republican institutions, and the contrast of what they read with what they saw around them in the corrupt French Court confirmed them in their views. Desmoulins studied law and became an advocate, but a stammer prevented him from practising in court and he turned his energies to writing. His work, France Libre, has been called "le chant de l'alouette gauloise saluant l'Aurore de la liberte." He helped found the club of Cordeliers, and he it was who in 1789 fired the people with the enthusiasm that culminated two days later in the taking of the Bastile. Although he voted for the king's death he was an advocate of moderation, and with Danton opposed the reign of terror. Although he had been a pioneer of the revolution, his services to the cause did not prevent his being arrested, tried, and executed, though he pleaded his services on the way to execution. He died at the age of 33. His wife Lucile made great efforts to save him, but she herself was beheaded ten days later.