Gui Jean Baptiste Target - Encyclopedia

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GUI JEAN BAPTISTE TARGET (1733-1807), French lawyer and politician, was born in Paris on the 17th of December 1733.

2 Brackenridge was a prominent lawyer, a native of Pittsburg, who practised in Maryland, Missouri and Louisiana, wasa district judge in Louisiana in 1812-1814, secretary of the U.S. commission sent to South America in 1817, U.S. judge for the western district of Florida from 1821 to 1832, when he returned to Pennsylvania, and the author of a Voyage to South America in 1817-1818 (1820), a History of the Late War between the United States and Great Britain (1817), Recollections of Persons and Places in the West (1834), and a History of the Western Insurrection (1859).

He acquired a great reputation as a lawyer, less by practice in the courts than in a consultative capacity. He strenuously opposed the "parlement Maupeou," devised by the Chancellor Maupeou to replace the old judiciary bodies, and refused to plead before it. He was counsel for the cardinal de Rohan in the affair of the Diamond Necklace. In 1785 he was elected to the French Academy. In 1789 he was returned as one of the deputies of the Third Estate in Paris to the statesgeneral, where he supported all such revolutionary measures as the union of the orders, the suspensive veto, the civil constitution of the clergy, &c. His excessive obesity, which in the Constituent Assembly made him the butt of the Royalists, had prevented him from practising at the bar for some years before 1789, and when Louis XVI..invited him to undertake his defence he excused himself on this ground. At the same time he published in 1792 some Observations in extenuation of the action of the king, from the constitutional point of view, which in the circumstances of the time argued much courage. For the rest, he took no part in public affairs during the Terror. Under the Directory he was made a member of the Institute (1796) and of the Court of Cassation (1798). He lived to collaborate in the earlier stages of the new criminal code. Among his writings may be mentioned a paper on the grain trade (1776) and a Memoire sur l'etat des Protestants en France (1787), in which he pleaded for the restoration of civil rights to the Protestants.

See Victor du Bled, "Les avocats et l'Academie Frangaise," in the Grand Revue (vol. ii. 1899); H. Moulin, Le Palais a l'Academie: Target et son fauteuil (Paris, 1884); P. Boulloche, Un avocat au ze me siecle (Paris, 1893).

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