Antoine Joseph Gorsas - Encyclopedia

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ANTOINE JOSEPH GORSAS (1752-1793), French publicist and politician, was born at Limoges (Haute-Vienne) on the 24th of March 1752, the son of a shoemaker. He established himself as a private tutor in Paris, and presently set up a school for the army at Versailles, which was attended by commoners as well as nobles. In 1781 he was imprisoned for a short time in the Bicetre on an accusation of corrupting the morals of his pupils, his real offence being the writing of satirical verse. These circumstances explain the violence of his anti-monarchical sentiment. At the opening of the states-general he began to publish the Courrier de Versailles a Paris et de Paris a Versailles, in which appeared on the 4th of October 1789 the account of the banquet of the royal bodyguard. Gorsas is said to have himself read it in public at the Palais Royal, and to have headed one of the columns that marched on Versailles. He then changed the name of his paper to the Courrier des quatre-vingt-trois departements, continuing his incendiary propaganda, which had no small share in provoking the popular insurrections of June and August 1792. During the September massacres he wrote in his paper that the prisons were the centre of an anti-national conspiracy and that the people exercised a just vengeance on the guilty. On the 10th of September 1792 he was elected to the Convention for the department of Seine-et-Oise, and on the 10th of January 1793 was elected one of its secretaries. He sat at first with the Mountain, but having been long associated with Roland and Brissot, his agreement with the Girondists became gradually more pronounced; during the trial of Louis XVI. he dissociated himself more and more from the principles of the Mountain, and he voted for the king's detention during the war and subsequent banishment. A violent attack on Marat in the Courrier led to an armed raid on his printing establishment on the 9th of March 1793. The place was sacked, but Gorsas escaped the popular fury by flight. The facts being reported to the Convention, little sympathy was shown to Gorsas, and a resolution (which was evaded) was passed forbidding representatives to occupy themselves with journalism. On the 2nd of June he was ordered by the Convention to hold himself under arrest with other members of his party. He escaped to Normandy to join Buzot, and after the defeat of the Girondists at Pacy-sur-Eure he found shelter in Brittany. He was imprudent enough to return to Paris in the autumn, where he was arrested on the 6th of October and guillotined the next day.

See the Moniteur, No. 268 (1792), Nos. 20, 70 new series 18 (1793) M. Tourneux, Bibl. de l'hist. de Paris, 10,291 seq. (1894).

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