Biography of Saint-Just, Louis - Archontology
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Saint-Just, Louis

Louis-Antoine de Saint-Just

b. 25 Aug 1767, Decizes, Nièvre [1]
d. 28 Jul 1794, Paris

Title: Président de la Convention nationale (President of the National Convention)
Term: 19 Feb 1794 - 6 Mar 1794
Chronology: 19 Feb 1794, elected, session of the National Convention, salle des Machines, Palais national des Tuileries, Paris [2]
20 Feb 1794, assumed the chair, session of the National Convention, salle des Machines, Palais national des Tuileries, Paris [3]
6 Mar 1794, ceased to exercise the functions of office upon the election of a successor [4]
Names/titles: Baptized (25 Aug 1767): Louis-Antoine de Saint-Just [5][6]
Son of a cavalry captain; moved with his family to Blérancourt, a rural town in Picardy, where his father died in 1777; attended the Collège of the Oratorians at Soissons; following a personal crisis, fled to Paris, taking with him a few family valuables; at request of his mother, who secured a lettre de cachet, was put into a reformatory, where remained for six months (1786-1787); became a clerk to the procureur at Soissons; studied at Reims, and received a degree in law (1788); anonymously published Organt (1789), satirical and licentious poem; commander of the national guard at Blérancourt; published Esprit de la Révolution et de la Constitution de France (1791); elected (5 Sep 1792) to the Convention nationale (National Convention) (1792-1794) as a deputy for the département of Aisne; voted for the death sentence in the trial of King Louis XVI; served as a secretary of the National Convention (29 Nov 1792 - 13 Dec 1792); sent on mission as representative of the Convention (9 Mar 1793 - 30 Apr 1793) to the Ardennes and Aisne for conscription of 300,000 soldiers; appointed a member of the Comité de salut public (Committee of Public Safety) (30 May 1793 - 27 Jul 1794); assumed a leading position among the Montagnards, forming together with Maximilen Robespierre and Georges Couthon a group reponsible for carrying out the most radical actions of the Revolution; appealed for extending the Reign of Terror and application of punishment to all those who were not active in implementation of the revolutionary ideas; served as President of the National Convention (19 Feb 1794 - 6 Mar 1794); presided over the passing of the Ventôse Decrees (26 Feb 1794, 3 Mar 1794), providing for the confiscation of the property of enemies of the Revolution; was sent, on a number of occasions, as representative of the Convention to the Armies of the Rhine, Moselle, North, and East; participated in military operations and led the victorious attack against the Austrians at Fleurus, modern Belgium (26 Jun 1794); in the course of the coup of 9 Thermidor, Year II (27 Jul 1794), was indicted together with other revolutionary leaders, including Robespierre and Couthon; seized at the Hôtel de Ville (27 Jul 1794) and guillotined (28 Jul 1794).
Biographical sources: Dictionnaire des Conventionnels, 548-552; Dictionnaire des parlementaires français 1789-1889, 5:238-241; "Saint-Just", by J.B. Morton (London: Longmans, Green, 1939); "Saint-Just, colleague of Robespierre", by Eugene Newton Curtis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1935); "Histoire de Saint-Just député à la Convention nationale", by Ernest Hamel (Brussels: Meline, Cans et Ce, 1895) (web site)

Candidate Votes (19 Feb 1794)
Louis-Antoine Saint-Just almost unanimously
Source of electoral results: Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 85:260; Procès-verbal de la Convention nationale, 32:29.

[1] "Histoire de Saint-Just", op. cit., 1:33: "Le vingt-cinquième août mil sept cent soixante-sept, a été baptisé Louis-Antoine, né aujourd'hui, fils légitime de messire Louis-Jean de Saint-Just de Richebourg, chevalier de l'ordre royal et militaire de Saint-Louis, capitaine de cavalerie, ancien maréchal des logis de gendarmerie, compagnie d'ordonnance de monseigneur le duc de Berry, et de dame Jeanne-Marie Robinot. Son parrain a été Me Jeanne-Antoine Robinot, curé de Verneuil, et sa marraine dame Françoise Ravard, qui ont signé avec nous."
[2] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 85:260; Procès-verbal de la Convention nationale, 32:29.
[3] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 85:261-284.
[4] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 86:147; Procès-verbal de la Convention nationale, 33:64-65.
[5] On various public and official occasions Saint-Just gives his name as Léonard Florelle de Saint-Just, Florelle de Saint-Just, Louis-Léon de Saint-Just. Léon may be a name adopted in childhood. The use of the preposition de, when suggesting nobility (referred to as la particule), is subject to fluctuation. From 1792 he is invariably merely Saint-Just. See "Du nom et des prénoms de Saint-Just et de leurs modifications" in Saint-Just, by Maurice Dommanget (Collection Archives Révolutionnaires) (Paris: Bernard Laville, 1971).
[6] Some sources erroneously attach de Richebourg to the surname of Saint-Just, while this legally unjustified extension belonged only to his father, Louis-Jean de Saint-Just, who served as agent to a rich landowner, and since Richebourg came under his supervision, he tacked it on to his name.
Image: portrait by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon.