Pierre Simon Fournier - Encyclopedia




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PIERRE SIMON FOURNIER (1712-1768), French engraver and typefounder, was born at Paris on the 15th of September 1712. He was the son of a printer, and was brought up to his father's business. After studying drawing under the painter Colson, he practised for some time the art of wood-engraving, and ultimately turned his attention to the engraving and casting of types. IIe designed many new characters, and his foundry became celebrated not only in France, but in foreign countries. Not content with his practical achievements, he sought to stimulate public interest in his art by the production of various works on the subject. In 1737 he published his Table des proportions qu'il faut observer entre les caracteres, which was followed by several other technical treatises. In 1758 he assailed the title of Gutenberg to the honour awarded him as inventor of printing, claiming it for Schaffer, in his Dissertation sur l'origine et les progres de fart de graver en bois. This gave rise to a controversy in which Schopflin and Baer were his opponents. Fournier's contributions to this debate were collected and reprinted under the title of Traites historiques et critiques sur l'origine de l'imprimerie. His principal work, however, was the Manuel typographique, which appeared in 2 vols. 8vo in 1764, the first volume treating of engraving and type-founding, the second of printing, with examples of different alphabets. It was the author's design to complete the work in four volumes, but he did not live to execute it. He died at Paris on the 8th of October 1768.

gOURNIER L'Heritier, Claude (1745-1825), French revolutionist, called "l'Americain," was born at Auzon (HauteLoire) on the 21st of December 1745, the son of a poor weaver. He went to America to seek his fortune, and started at San Domingo an establishment for making tafia (an inferior quality of rum), but lost his money in a fire. Returning to France he threw himself into the Revolution with enthusiasm, and specially distinguished himself by the active part he took in the organization of the popular armed force by means of which the most famous of the revolutionary coups were effected. His influence was principally manifested in the insurrections of the 5th and 6th of October 1789, the 17th of July 1791, and the 20th of June and the 10th of August 1792. He was on bad terms with the majority of the politicians, and particularly with Marat, and spent a great part of his time in prison, all the governments regarding him as an agitator and accusing him of inciting to insurrection. Arrested for the first time for trying to force an entrance into the club of the Cordeliers, from which he had been expelled, he was released, but was in prison from the 12th of December 1793 to the 21st of September 1794, and again from the 9th of March 1795 to the 26th of October 1795. After the attempt on the First Consul in the rue Sainte-Nicaise he was deported to Guiana, but was allowed to return to France in 1809. In 1811, while under surveillance at Auxerre, he was accused of having provoked an emeute against taxes known as the droits reunis (afterwards called contributions indirectes), and was imprisoned in the Château d'If, where he remained till 1814. On the second restoration of the Bourbons Fournier was confined for about nine months in the prison of La Force. After 1816 he was left unmolested, turned royalist, and passed his last years in importuning the Restoration government for compensation for his lost property in San Domingo. He died in obscurity.

For further details see preface to F. A. Aulard's edition of Fournier's Memoires secrets (Paris, 1890), published by the Societe de l'histoire de la Revolution.

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