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Jean-Nicolas Démeunier (March 15, 1751 – February 2, 1814) was a French author and politician.

He was Royal Censor and secretary to "Monsieur", the Comte de Provence (Louis XVIII), who was the brother of King Louis XVI.

Démeunier was a deputy for the Paris "tiers état" at the Estates-General of 1789 preceding the French Revolution. He was elected "administrateur de la ville de Paris" in 1791. He resigned from this post in 1792 and sought refuge in the United States until the end of the Reign of Terror, when he returned to France.

He was a member of the Tribunat, from its creation, and he became its president in 1800.

In 1802 he became senator and one of the loyal executors of Napoleon Bonaparte's politics, under both the Consulat and the First French Empire, a service for which he was created a "Comte d'Empire".

Les Neuf Sœurs

As a member of the Masonic Lodge Les Neuf Sœurs, Démeunier was particularly active in the management of the newly-created Lycée of which "Monsieur", the Comte de Provence, was the principal Maecenas. This Lycée was created by combining the Musée de Paris with the Musée Scientifique—both had been created by the Société Appolonienne, the origin of which lay with Court de Gébelin who had been the Lodge's secretary in 1779 and was also a Royal Censor. The aim of these institutions was to provide good-quality education to the general public. After the return of Louis XVIII to Paris, the Lycée remained active under the name "Athenée Royal", until 1848.

Jean-Nicolas Démeunier may also be considered one of the key figures in the organisation of support for the American cause, by the Lodge. For example, his

"L'Amérique indépendante, ou les différents constitutions de treize provinces qui se sont érigées en républiques, sous le nom d'Etats-Unis de l'Amérique. Avec un précis de l'histoire de chaque province, et des remarques sur les constitutions, la population, les finances et l'état dans lequel les province se trouvent actuellement" (Par Démeunier avocat et censeur royal, auteur de la partie économie politique d'Encyclopédie methodique. A Gand, chez P.F.Goessin, Imprimeur-Librairie, Rue Hauteporte. 1790)

was to be of great influence on the democratic experiments in Belgium in the few years preceding the French Revolution. (For a detailed discussion of events and relevant sources see Gorman 1925, reference below.)

The real significance of "L'Amerique Indépendante..." lay in the fact that it was published as a separate volume of Démeunier's contributions to Charles Joseph Panckoucke's "Encyclopédie méthodique", which had been corrected and debated in correspondence with Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson also was the source of "Précis historique de la révolution des Etats Unis d'Amérique, précédé de l'histoire de ses provinces, jusq'à l'époque de la révolution, et suivi du Manifeste ou de l'acte d'Indépendance des treize Etats-Unis", anonymously published in Ghent by Goessin in 1789.

References

  • Daniel Ligou ed., Dictionnaire de la franc-maçonnerie (Paris : Presses universitaires de France, 1987).
  • Roger C. Hahn, The anatomy of a scientific institution: The Paris Academy of Sciences, 1666-1803 (Berkeley : University of California Press, 1971).
  • Howard C. Rice Jr., Thomas Jefferson's Paris (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1976).
  • Thomas Kiely Gorman, America and Belgium: a study of the influence of the United States upon the Belgian Revolution of 1789-1790 (London : T. F. Unwin, [1925]).

External links

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