François Louis Michel Chemin Deforgues

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François Louis Michel Chemin des Forgues (born 29 September 1759, Vire – 10 September 1840, Maincy (Seine-et-Marne)) was a French politician, and Foreign Minister.


Son of Jean Forgues Path and Anne-Bertrand Thomas de la Marche, he came to Paris, at twelve years old, studying at the College Louis-le-Grand and then to law school. According to Madame Roland, he was clerk to Danton, when he was attorney for the Parliament of Paris,[1] He was also committed to the authority of the octroi of Paris.[2]

Member of the Commune of Paris, created 10 August 1792 and protected by Danton, he was appointed bureau chief of illumination,[3] on 24 August and was deputy, from 2 September, with Marat, of the Supervisory Committee the town. On 3 September, he co-signed a Committee circular[4] to justify the massacres of September and considered a call to imitate the example of the "common good of Paris." Later, he protested his innocence, saying that his name had replaced another.[5] On 30 Thermidor Year III (17 August 1795), he published a pamphlet entitled: "Deforgues to citizens (to defend themselves for having participated in massacres of September)", in which he claimed to have been attached to the administration of police on 14 September.[6] However, according to Maurice Barthelemy, it was reported that at the worst moment, he imprisoned in the Abbaye citizen Claude Sujet who perished on the spot.[7]

He was the first Secretary General of the Committee of Public Safety of The Mountain, dominated by Danton and Barrere then, at the request of Jean-Nicolas Pache, was appointed Deputy Minister of War Bouchotte, 5th Division, on 9 May 1793. Miot de Melito, who knew him, said he was "a firm and decided, with the spirit of the enlightenment. His aristocratic origin had approached Barrere."[8] "

After 2 June he was appointed by the Convention at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Executive Council, replacing Lebrun-Tondu on 21 June 1793, on motion of Marie-Jean Hérault de Séchelles who introduced him as: "a true Republican, a well spoken sans-culotte", and explained: "Deforgues has a well-organized mind, he loves the book and has done a lot." In fact, he thought only a little about the conduct of diplomatic business. In fact Barrere, who had the upper hand on the diplomacy of the Year II, tightly controlled the machinery. Thus, at the request of Barrere, he recruited agents of British counter intelligence, such as Richard Ferris, with missions to England and Ireland. His name appears not only in the English ministerial papers - particularly those of Lord Grenville - but also in the letter from the Foreign Office to Perrégaux asking 'Chemin-Deforgues' - (spelling adopted during the Revolution) - to promote disorder and "push the Jacobins in paroxysms of fury". With the endorsement of Barrere, he was paid by the British government, among others, to counter the business of United Irishmen and disrupted services by untimely hiring, as he employed Jean Baptiste Noël Bouchotte at the Department of War.

On 4 March 1794 Jacques Hébert denounced him to the Cordeliers [9] as follows: "A Deforgues who takes the place of Foreign Minister and well known that I call the Minister for Foreign Affairs!". On 13 Germinal Year II (2 April 1794) he was deposed and replaced by Martial Joseph Armand Herman. Arrested, he was imprisoned in Luxembourg for four months. On 14 Germinal, the warrant for his arrest was signed by du Barran, Élie Lacoste, Vadier, Moyse Bayle, Robespierre, Prieur de la Côte-d'Or, Barrere - (his friend) - Saint-Just, Amar, Carnot and Collot d'Herbois; he wrote to the "Incorruptible", attributing his imprisonment as a result of his intimacy with Danton.[10] In this letter, he took advantage of the protection of Barrere.[11] He was released after the 9th Thermidor.

His detention attributed to "Robespierre" exempted him from accounting for his deplorable administration. He "matures" somehow, and having to be diplomatic for his own interests, he was appointed in October 1799, at the Anglo-Russian invasion, Minister Plenipotentiary to the Batavian Republic, where he attended and succeeded Florent Guiot. He was recalled after 18 Brumaire, and replaced by Semonville. He lived in retirement when, in 1804, after the Louisiana Purchase in the United States, he was sent to New Orleans as trade commissioner. He spent five years in the country, where he married. On his return journey he was captured at sea by the English, but almost immediately released. Exiled to twenty leagues from Paris by Napoleon, he retired in August 1815 to Maincy, where he died.

Political offices
Preceded by
Pierre Henri Hélène Marie Lebrun-Tondu
Minister of Foreign Affairs
21 June 1793 – 2 April 1794
Succeeded by
Jean Marie Claude Alexandre Goujon


  1. Frédéric Masson, Le Département des affaires étrangères pendant la révolution, 1787-1804, E. Plon et cie, 1877, p. 286, et Auguste Philippe Herlaut, Le colonel Bouchotte, ministre de la guerre en l'an II, 1946, p. 70.
  2. Annuaire historique pour l'année 1850, Société de l'histoire de France, Paris, Jules Renouard et Cie, 1849, p. 158.
  3. Auguste Philippe Herlaut, Le colonel Bouchotte, ministre de la guerre en l'an II, 1946, p. 70.
  4. see, Noël Parfait, "Notice biographique" in A.-F. Sergent, graveur en taille-douce, 1848, pp. 76-77.
  5. Philippe Buchez et Roux, Histoire parlementaire de la Révolution française, volume XVII, pp. 432-433.
  6. See the text in Alexandre Sorel, Le Couvent des Carmes et le séminaire de Saint-Sulpice pendant la Terreur, Paris, Didier & Cie, 1864, pp. 364-370
  7. Barthélémy Maurice, Histoire des prisons, 1840. see Frédéric Masson, Le Département des affaires étrangères pendant la révolution, 1787-1804, E. Plon et cie, 1877, 570 pages, p. 287.
  8. Miot de Mélito, Mémoires, 1858, volume I.
  10. Moncure Daniel Conway, Thomas Paine (1737-1809) et la révolution dans les deux mondes, Plon, 1900, p. 345.
  11. see the letter in Papiers inédits trouvés chez Robespierre, Saint-Just, Payan, etc., supprimés ou omis par Courtois précédés du rapport de ce député à la Convention nationale, Paris, Baudoin frères, 1828, tome II, pp. 189-193