Fabre D'Eglantine, Philip Francis Nazaire

, one of the agents in the French revolution, was born at Carcassane, Dec. 28, 1755, and was educated in polite literature and natural philosophy by his parents, whom he quitted in his youth, and became by turns a painter, musician, engraver, poet, and actor. He performed on the stages of Versailles, Brussels, and Lyons, but with no great success. As a writer for the stage, however, he was allowed considerable merit, and obtained, on one occasion, at the Floral ia, the prize of the Eglantine, the name of which he added to his own. In 1786 he published in a French periodical work, “Les Etrennes du Parnasse,” a little poem called “Chalons sur Marne,” in which he | drew a very charming picture of the moral pleasures that were to be found in that place and its neighbourhood. This piece, however, fell very short of the celebrity to which he afterwards attained. In 1789 and 1790 he published two comedies, “Le Philinte,” and “L’Intrigue Epistolaire,” the former of which was reckoned one of the best French pieces of the last century.

He was soon, however, called to perform a more important part on the revolutionary stage, being chosen, in 1792, a deputy to the national convention. For this office he had all the negative qualities that were necessary, no regard for religion or Civil subordination; and accordingly took a very active part in the insurrection of Aug. 10, and the prison massacres of the September following; the latter are called “measures which would save France.” After this, it was in character to vote for the death of the king. It was generally supposed that he contributed with Danton and Robespierre to the massacre of May 31, 1793, when the Girondine faction was overthrown by a popular insurrection. What gives the appearance of authenticity to this supposition is, that Fabre himself, some days afterwards, observed to a friend, that the domineering spirit of the Girondines, who had engrossed all power and office, had induced him and his colleagues, in order to shake off the yoke, to throw themselves into the hands of the sans culoterie; but that he could not help, however, foreboding dangerous consequences from that day, May 31st, as the same mob which they had taught to despise the legislature, might, at the instigation of another faction, overthrow him in his turn.

On the overthrow of the Girondine party, and the establishment in power of the sansculoterie, Fabre began to render himself more conspicuous. As a member of the committee of public safety, he demanded of the jacobins “a manifesto furnished with 300,000 signatures, for the formation of a faction, or holy league of public safety,” and was one of the instigators of the decree that ordained that all the English and Hanoverian prisoners should be shot, which, however, we believe, was never carried into execution. He was also appointed a member of the committee of public instruction, and in August 1793 gave his vote for suppressing all academies and literary corporations, which, from their privileges and aristocratic spirit, were considered as unfriendly to a truly republican government. | In October 1793, he submitted to the national convention the plan of a new calendar, which was afterwards adopted; but which, absurd as we find it, is said not to have been of his own composition.

In the winter of 1793, the Sansculoterie became divided into two parts or factions, the jacobins and cordeliers, or, in other words, the Robespierrists, and the Dantonists. Fabre was of the faction of Danton, and was confined with Danton’s adherents in the prison of the Luxemburgh. After a month’s imprisonment, Fabre was, with many others, dragged to the scaffold in April 1794, where he was executed in the thirty-fifth year of his age. Mercier, who was his colleague, speaks of him thus in his “Tableau de Paris:” “He was a promoter and panegyrist of the revolutionary system, the friend, the companion, the adviser of the pro-consuls, who carried throughout France, fire and sword, devastation and death.” In 1802 a collection of his works was published in 2 vols. 8vo, containing some posthumous pieces. 1


Dict. Hist. JBiog. Moderne. Supplement to the Encyclopedia Britannica.