Jean Pierre Louis de
Fontaines, March 6, 1757 Niort - March 17, 1821 Paris. De Fontanes
was a politician and 'Pair de France en poet'. Pair de France
is a title for nobles in close connection with the king.
His first published poems, some of which
were inspired by English writers, appeared in 1778 and 1780.
His translation of Alexander Pope's work, L'Essai sur l'homme,
was published with an elaborate preface in 1783. Other works
followed. Fontanes was a moderate reformer. He married Chantal
Cathelin at Lyon in 1792. His first child was born during their
flight from the siege of that town. Fontanes was in hiding in
Paris when the four citizens of Lyon were sent to the Assembly
to protest against the cruelties of Collot d'Herbois. The petition
was drawn up by Fontanes, and when the authorship was discovered,
he was forced to flee from Paris and found shelter at Sevran,
near Livry, and afterwards at Andelys.
On the fall of Robespierre he was made
Professor of Literature in the École Centrale des Quatre-Nations,
and he was one of the original members of the Institute. In
'The Memorial', a journal edited by Jean-François de
la Harpe, he discreetly advocated reaction to the monarchical
principle. He was exiled by the Directory and made his way to
London, where he was closely associated with Chateaubriand.
He soon returned to France, and his admiration for Napoleon
secured his return to the Institute and his political promotion.
In 1802 he was elected to the legislative chamber, of which
he was president from 1804 to 1810. Other honours and titles
followed. He was Grand Master of the University of Paris (1808-1815).
He acquiesced in the Bourbon restoration, and was made a marquis
in 1817. He died on March 17, 1821 at age 64.
De Fontanes used God's name in :