François Boissy d’Anglas (1756-1826)

A life marked by the French Revolution

  • Boissy d'Anglas (1756-1826) © S.H.P.F.

Boissy d’Anglas was born into a reformed family, in Saint-Jean-Chambre (Ardèche) where his father was a doctor. He became a lawyer in Paris, and was to be one of the most prominent members of the Protestant community at the time of the Revolution as well as under the various governments that marked the beginning of the 19th century.

Elected to the Revolutionary Assembly for the district of Annonay, he pleaded for the rights of coloured people and fought for the rights of Protestants and non-juring Roman Catholic priests ; he was accused of wishing to establish a Protestant Republic. He made manifest his moderation when, on the 1st Prairial (20 May 1795), as he was presiding the Convention, the room was invaded by a mob carrying the head of a deputy. He bowed to it with dignity and refused to give in to the revolutionaries. Earlier he had formerly promoted the decree of 3 Ventôse establishing the separation of Church and State and freedom of worship. He participated in drafting of the Constitution de l’An III (1795) which underlined the respect for private property and established military service.

Banished on 18 Fructidor, he returned to France after the 18 Brumaire, and joins the Consulat. He was to be a member of the Conseil des Cinq-Cents, president of the Tribunat and senator. Under the Restauration he was granted the title of Comte d’Empire and made Pair de France. In 1814, as a member of the commission in charge of drafting the Charte, he pleaded for equal rights for Protestants and Roman Catholics. A man of peace, he defended the freedom of Huguenots threatened by Roman Catholic demonstrators during the Terreur Blanche in 1815. He was vice-chairman of the Société Biblique (Bible Society) and, from 1803 to 1826 a member of the Consistory of the Reformed Church in Paris

Bibliography

  • Books
    • CABANEL Patrick et ENCREVE André , Dictionnaire biographique des protestants français, de 1787 à nos jours, Editions de Paris - Max Chaleil, Paris, 2015, Tome 1 : A-C

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