Protestants
in the various Assemblies

Protestants were involved as events unfolded throughout the Revolution.

For the Protestants it was never about involvement because of their religion. It should be emphasised that the Edict of Toleration was only issued in 1787, and two years could not have erased more than a century of normally having to meet in secret, a clandestine life.

However, it should be noted that simply in terms of numbers, identifiably Protestant political representation at Assemblies grew with time.

1789 - The Constituent Assembly

  • Antoine Barnave (1761-1793). Lawyer, member of Parliament © S.H.P.F.

The States-General only sent 17 Protestant representatives out of a total of 1,200:

  • Barnave, 28 years old, Dauphiné, Lawyer at the Grenoble Parliament,
  • Boissy d’Anglas, 33 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Annonay, Lawyer at the Parliament in Paris,
  • Chambon-Latour, 50 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Lyon, Lawyer, Mayor of Uzès,
  • Couderc, 48 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Lyon, Trader,
  • De Cussy, 50 years old, Bailiwick of Caen, Director of the Mint,
  • Gallot, 55 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Poitiers, Medical Doctor,
  • Garesché, 51 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Saintes, Trader,
  • Lamy, 61 years old, Bailiwick of Caen, Trader,
  • Mestre, 56 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Libourne, Lawyer at Sainte-Foy,
  • Meynier de Salinelles, 60 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Nîmes, Trader,
  • Nairac, 57 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Bordeaux, Trader,
  • Quatrefages de La Roquette, 58 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Nîmes, Trader,
  • Rabaut Saint-Étienne, 56 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Nîmes, Officially a property owner,
  • De Rathsamhausen, 53 years old, Haguenau-Wissembourg, Colonel,
  • Soustelle, 50 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Nîmes, Lawyer in Alais,
  • Turckheim, 40 years old, Strasbourg, Town Councillor,
  • Voulland, 48 years old, Seneschal’s Jurisdiction at Nîmes, Lawyer in Uzès.

Despite their small number, all these representatives did not form a coherent group. Only two got themselves noticed : Rabaut Saint Etienne and Barnave.

1791 - The Legislative Assembly

The clause forbidding representatives on the Constituent Assembly to stand again ensured, ipso facto, that there were new members on the Assembly benches:

  • Allut, 49 years old, Gard, Trader,
  • Cambon, 36 years old, Hérault, Trader,
  • Delon, 38 years old, Gard, Jurist,
  • Eschassériaux Senior, 41 years old, Charente Inférieure, Lawyer,
  • Gamon, 25 years old, Ardèche, Lawyer (replacement, a much later member),
  • Garrau, 36 years old, Gironde, Lawyer,
  • de Gasparin, 38 years old, Bouches-du-Rhône, Soldier,
  • Haussmann, 32 years old, Seine-et-Oise, Cloth merchant,
  • Ingrand, 36 years old, Vienne, Lawyer,
  • de Jancourt, 35 years old, Seine-et-Marne, Soldier,
  • Jay, 49 years old, Gironde, Pastor,
  • Laffon de Ladébat, 46 years old, Gironde, Agronomist,
  • Lasource-Alba, 29 years old, Tarn, Pastor,
  • Leyris-Descombes, 30 years old, Gard, Jurist,
  • Lozeran de Fressac, 39 years old, Lozère, Officer, Justice of the Peace,
  • Ménard, 36 years old, Gard, Member of Departmental Board,
  • Pieyre, 37 years old, Gard, Trader,
  • Pinet, 38 years old, Dordogne, Trader,
  • Rühl, 55 years old, Bas-Rhin, Archivist, Member of Departmental Board,
  • Sers, 46 years old, Gironde, Ship owner and trader,
  • Sevenne, 43 years old, Lozère, Jurist,
  • Vincens-Planchut, 37 years old, Gard, Chemist.

With 22 of the 745 representatives in the Assembly, the Protestants were more numerous than before. The three most active Protestant members were Rühl, Cambon and Lasource-Alba. Only the last of these declared, at the meeting of 25th August 1792, that he was a Protestant and, as such, did not hesitate to defend obstinate priests.

1792 - The Convention

  • Rabaut Saint-Étienne

The Convention comprised 749 representatives of which 36 were Protestants:

  • Bayle, 37 years old, Bouches-du-Rhône, Local Procurator-Trustee,
  • Bernard Saint-Affrique, 47 years old, Aveyron, Pastor,
  • Berthezène 44 years old, Gard, Lawyer,
  • Boissy d’Anglas, 37 years old, Ardèche, Settlor,
  • Cambon, 36 years old, Hérault, Legislator,
  • Chambon-Latour, 37 years old, Gard, Settlor,
  • De Cussy, 54 years old, Calvados, Settlor,
  • Dechézeaux, 33 years old, Charente Inférieure, Trader,
  • Dentzel, 38 years old, Bas-Rhin, Pastor,
  • Dupuch, 47 years old, Guadeloupe, Notary,
  • Ehrmann, 36 years old, Bas-Rhin, Lawyer,
  • Eschassériaux aîné, 40 years old, Charente Inférieure, Legislator,
  • Eschassériaux René, 39 years old, Charente Inférieure, Medical Doctor,
  • Garrau, 37 years old, Gironde, Legislator,
  • Gamon, 26 years old, Ardèche, Legislator,
  • de Gasparin, 39 years old, Bouches-du-Rhône, Legislator,
  • Grimmer, 46years old, Bas-Rhin, Ex-pastor,
  • Hardy, 45 years old, Seine-Inférieure, Medical Doctor,
  • Haussmann, 33 years old, Seine-et-Oise, Legislator,
  • Ingrand, 37 years old, Vienne, Legislator,
  • Jay, 50 years old, Gironde, Legislator,
  • Jeanbon Saint-André, 54 years old, Lot, Pastor, Ship’s Captain,
  • Johannot, 45 years old, Haut-Rhin, Departmental Board Director,
  • Julien de Toulouse, 33years old, Haute-Garonne, Pastor,
  • Lasource-Alba, 30 years old, Tarn, Legislator,
  • Leyris-Descombes, 31 years old, Gard, Legislator,
  • Lombard-Lachaux, 49 years old, Loiret, Pastor,
  • Marat, 50 years old, Paris, Publicity Agent,
  • Pelet de la Lozère, 44 years old, Lozère, Magistrate,
  • Pinet, 39 years old, Dordogne, Legislator,
  • Rabaut-Pomier, 49 years old, Gard, Pastor,
  • Rabaut Saint-Etienne, 50 years old, Aube, Settlor,
  • Rühl, 56 years old, Bas-Rhin, Legislator,
  • Saint-Martin Valogne, 43 years old, Aveyron, Counsellor with the Audit Office, Mayor of Millau,
  • Servière, 44 years old, Lozère, Trader,
  • Voulland, 42 years old, Gard, Settlor.

Some had been members of previous Assemblies.

Boissy d’Anglas, Chambon-Latour, de Cussy, Rabaut Saint-Etienne and Voulland were part of the Constituent Assembly.

Cambon, Eschassériaux Senior, Gamon, Garrau, de Gasperin, Haussmann, Ingrand, Jay, Lasource-Alba, Leyris-Descombes, Pinet and Rühl had seats on the Legislative Assembly.

Yet again, there was no political cohesion between the Protestant representatives. Some, like Rabaut Saint-Etienne, sided with the Girondins ; while others such as Marat and Cambon were part of the Montagne party.

Bernard Saint-Affrique (pastor), Boissy d’Anglas, Cussy, Déchézeaux, Hardy, Rabaut Saint-Etienne (pastor), Saint-Martin Valogne voted against the death penalty.

On the other hand, Bayle, Cambon, Eschassériaux Senior, Garrau, Gasperin, Ingrand, Jay, Jeanbon Saint-André (pastor), Julien de Toulouse (pastor), Lasource-Alba (pastor), Leyris-Descombes, Marat, Pinet, Servière and Voulland were in favour. They formed the largest group.

Between these two sentences, a number wanted an intermediate penalty. So Berthézène, Gamon, Johannot, Lombard-Lachaux (pastor) and Rabaut-Pomier (pastor) advocated a suspended sentence or recourse to a referendum.

Bibliography

  • Books
    • Liste des députés par département et par législative, de mai 1789 à mai 1889, Paris, 1889
    • ROBERT Adolphe, BOURLOTON Edgar et COUGNY Gaston, Dictionnaire des parlementaires français de 1789 à 1889, Bourloton éditeur, Paris, 1889, Volume 5
  • Articles
    • POUJOL Jacques, "Le changement d’image des protestants pendant la Révolution", Bulletin de la SHPF, SHPF, Paris, 1989, Tome 127, p. 500-541

Associated notes

Associated tours