Jean Marie Claude Alexandre Goujon - Encyclopedia

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JEAN MARIE CLAUDE ALEXANDRE GOUJON (1766-1795), French publicist and statesman, was born at Bourg on the 13th of April 1766, the son of a postmaster. The boy went early to sea, and saw fighting when he was twelve years old; in 17 9 0 he settled at Meudon, and began to make good his lack of education. As procureur-general-syndic of the department of Seine-et-Oise, in August, 1792, he had to supply the inhabitants with food, and fulfilled his difficult functions with energy and tact. In the Convention, which he entered on the death of Herault de Sechelles, he took his seat on the benches of the Mountain. He conducted a mission to the armies of the Rhine and the Moselle with creditable moderation, and was a consistent advocate of peace within the republic. Nevertheless, he was a determined opponent of the counter-revolution, which he denounced in the Jacobin Club and from the Mountain after his recall to Paris, following on the revolution of the 9th Thermidor (July 27, 1794). He was one of those who protested against the readmission of Louvet and other survivors of the Girondin party to the Convention in March 1795; and, when the populace invaded the legislature on the 1st Prairial (May 20, 1795) and compelled the deputies to legislate in accordance with their desires, he proposed the immediate establishment of a special commission which should assure the execution of the proposed changes and assume the functions of the various committees. The failure of the insurrection involved the fall of those deputies who had supported the demands of the populace. Before the close of the sitting, Goujon, with Romme, Duroi, Duquesnoy, Bourbotte, Soubrany and others were put under arrest by their colleagues, and on their way to the château of Taureau in Brittany had a narrow escape from a mob at Avranches. They were brought back to Paris for trial before a military commission on the 17th of June, and, though no proof of their complicity in organizing the insurrection could be found - they were, in fact, with the exception of Goujon and Bourbotte, strangers to one another - they were condemned. In accordance with a pre-arranged plan, they attempted suicide on the staircase leading from the court-room with a knife which Goujon had successfully concealed. Romme, Goujon and Duquesnoy succeeded, but the other three merely inflicted wounds which did not prevent their being taken immediately to the guillotine. With their deaths the Mountain ceased to exist as a party.

See J. Claretie, Les Derniers Montagnards, histoire de l'insurrection de Prairial an III d'apres les documents (1867); Defense du representant du peuple Goujon (Paris, no date), with the letters and a hymn written by Goujon during his imprisonment. For other documents see Maurice Tourneux (Paris, 1890, vol. i., pp. 422-425).

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