The French Revolutionary Deists

A Catalog of the French Revolutionary Deists with a Short Biography of Each Deist and Information on Where to Find the Best Introduction to their Deist Ideas

There were hundreds of deists who lived in France during the time of the French Revolution (1789-99). These deists have been ignored when people characterize Enlightenment deism. But 75 of them stated that God helped the French Revolution by working miracles, and 111 of them loved God so much they wrote prayers or hymns to God. If we take these deists into account, our whole attitude towards deism will change.

In the list below, 3 books have been abbreviated.

Rituel = Rituel républicain: Fête à l’Être-suprême, exécutée à Paris, le 20 prairial, l’an 2e de la République (Paris, 1794).

AP = Archives parlementaires de 1787 à 1860Recueil complet des débats législatifs & politiques des chambres françaises (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1862-2012): series 1.

Lyre = La lyre de la Raison, ou Hymnes, cantiques, odes et stances à l’Etre suprême pour la célébration des fêtes décadaires (Paris, 1794).

Mathiez = Albert Mathiez, Le Théophilanthropie et le Culte Décadaire, 1796-1801: Essai sur l’histoire religieuse de la révolution (Paris, 1904).

All the books and pamphlets mentioned below (except for Archives parliamentaires, vol. 91) are available online at one or more of these places: Google Books, Hathi, Archive, Newberry Library French Pamphlet Collection at Archive, Gallica, or Eromm, the European Register of Microform and Digital Masters.

The best place to look for Archives parliamentaires is https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011441618?type%5B%5D=title&lookfor%5B%5D=Archives%20parlementaires%20de%201787%20à%201860&ft=.     Volumes 83 and above (except for 91) are available at the bottom of the page.

C. A. (fl. 1793) wrote a “Hymn to Reason” which was recited during the Inauguration of the Temple of Reason at Chaumont.  This hymn is printed in AP, 83:721-2. 

Jean-Pierre d’Açarq (1717?-1809) was a professor of language and French literature as well as a grammarian.  The best introduction to his deist ideas is his Petit recueil de vers françois et de vers latins: frappés depuis et pour notre révolution philosophique (n. p., 1798).   

Citizen Aignan (fl. 1794) gave a speech at the Festival of the Supreme Being held in Orleans.  This speech is printed in his short pamphlet Discours sur l’existence de l’Être suprême et de l’immortalité de l’ame, liés à l’affermissement et au bonheur de la république française (Orleans, 1794).  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was a citizen who gave a speech at the Festival of the Supreme Being in Paris at the section Fontaine-de-Grenelle.  The speech is printed in Section de la Fontaine-de-Grenelleréflexions d’un citoyen, faites à l’assemblée Générale . . . le 20 floréal, l’an IIe (Paris, 1794).    

Anonymous (fl. 1798) wrote a hymn that was chanted at the planting of the Liberty Tree in Chichée.  This hymn is printed in Crochot, Discours sur la paix contintentale (Auxerre, 1798), unnumbered page after page 14. 

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was the government representative to Rouen.  He gave a speech, printed in AP, 92:111, at the Festival of the Supreme Being in Rouen.  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was the president of the district around the town of Montagne-sur-Mer (formerly Montreuil).  He gave a speech during the Festival of the Supreme Being in Montagne-sur-Mer, which is printed in AP, 92:43-4.  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was the municipal officer of the town of Commercy who gave a speech at the town’s Festival of the Supreme Being.  The speech is printed in AP, 92:473-4. 

Anonymous (fl. 1798) gave the speech at the funeral of General Hoche at the Theophilanthropy temple in Versailles. This speech is printed in Eloge funèbre du général Hoche, prononcé à Versailles, le 24 vendémiaire an VI, dans le temple des théophilantropes (Versailles, 1798). 

Anonymous (fl. 1791) was the author of Le bergamasque, ou l’homme bon, doutant sans le vouloir & ennemi malgré lui de la vie sociale (The Hague, 1791). 

Anonymous (fl. 1793) wrote the one-page broadsheet La montagne de la liberté, montagne de Sinaï, d’où est sortie la régénération française protégée par l’Être suprême (n. p., n.d.). 

Anonymous (fl. 1790) wrote the long pamphlet La religion sans prêtres, ou le catéchisme de l’honnête homme (Paris, 1790).  The best introduction to his deist idea is pages 5-10, 27-9, and 44 of this pamphlet.   

Anonymous (fl. 1795) was a member of the Republican Society of Bruyères.  He gave a speech printed in Discours sur le fanatisme et la célébration des fêtes décadaires, prononcé au temple dédié à l’Etre suprême, par un membre de la société républicaine de Bruyères (Bruyères, 179?).  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was the mayor of Languidic who gave a speech at the Festival of the Supreme Being in Languidic.  Excerpts from the speech are published in Pierre Bliard, Le conventionnel Prieur de la Marne en mission dans l’ouest: 1793-1794 (Paris: 1906), 39-42.   

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was member of the Popular Society of Bellevue-Les-Bains.   He gave a speech to the National Convention which was printed in AP, 87:579.

Anonymous (fl. 1794) gave a speech at the Festival of the Supreme Being in Amiens.  The speech is printed in the first eight pages of the Discours prononcé au nom du Conseil-Général de la commune d’Amiens, le 20 prairial jour de la fête célébrée en l’honneur de l’Etre supreme (Amiens, 1794).   

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was a member of the Popular Society of Cauterets.  He wrote a hymn to God that was printed in AP, 93:135.  

Anonymous (fl. 1797) wrote the very short pamphlet Grande discussion entre les catholiques et les théophilanthropes, sur l’abolition des dimanches: dialogue sur les religions par des ministres des deux cultes (Paris, 1798?).  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) wrote a “Religious and Patriotic Hymn,” which was sung at the Festival of the Supreme Being.  The hymn is printed in pages 101-3 of Recueil d’hymnes républicaines qui ont paru à l’occasion de la fête à l’Etre suprême, qui a été célébrée Décadi 20 prairial, l’an second de la République françoise (Paris, 1794).  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) wrote a hymn which was sung at the Festival of the Supreme Being.  The hymn is printed in Recueil d’hymnes républicaines qui ont paru à l’occasion de la fête à l’Etre suprême, qui a été célébrée Décadi 20 prairial, l’an second de la République françoise (Paris, 1794), 33-4.

 Anonymous (fl. 1793) was a member of the Popular Society of Blois who gave a speech, printed in AP, 84:439, at the Festival of Reason in Blois.  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) wrote a “Hymn to God,” which was sung at the Festival of the Supreme Being.  This hymn is printed in pages 66-8 of Recueil d’hymnes républicaines qui ont paru à l’occasion de la fête à l’Etre suprême, qui a été célébrée Décadi 20 prairial, l’an second de la République françoise (Paris, 1794).  

Anonymous wrote hymns to use during the Festival of the Supreme Being celebrated at Agen.  Some of these hymns are printed in Fête de l’Être suprême, célébrée a Agen, le 20 prairial, an deuxième de la République française, une et indivisible, (n. p., n. d.).  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) wrote “Vow of a Republican Child,” which was printed in AP, 91:492.  

Anonymous (fl. 1799) wrote the “Hymn to God” which was chanted at Tours in 1799.  The hymn is printed in Hymne à l’Etre suprême (30 ventose an VII) (Tours, 1799), 1-4.  [The first half of the first hymn is from Marie-Joseph Chénier’s “Hymn to God,” but the second part is not from Chenier’s hymn.]  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was a citizen of the town of Rozet-le-Ménil.  He wrote a prayer, printed in AP, 91:299-300, which was sent in a letter to the National Convention.  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was a citizen of Paris.  He gave a speech to the National Convention.  The speech is printed in AP 90:406.    

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was a commissar of the town of Annecy.  He gave a speech to the National Convention, which is printed in AP, 90:50.

Anonymous (fl. 1794) wrote the “Hymn to God” that was chanted at Tulle at the Festival of the Supreme Being.  The hymn is printed in Hymne à l’Etre suprême, chantée à Tulle, le 20 prairial sur l’autel de la patrie (n. p., 1794).  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was the mayor of Montereau-Faut-Yonne.  He gave a speech during the Festival of the Supreme Being in Montereau-Faut-Yonne which is printed in AP, 93:200.  

Anonymous (fl. 1793) was the president of the Revolutionary Committee of Bayeux.  He gave a speech in the local Temple of Reason during the celebration of the retaking of the city of Toulon.  The speech is printed in AP, 83:485-7.   

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was a member of the Committee of Surveillance of the commune of Ruffec.  He gave a speech to the National Convention, which is printed in AP, 95:271.  

Anonymous (fl. 1793) wrote the “Prayer of a French Republican to God,” which was printed in François-Jean Dusausoir, Office des décades, ou Discours, hymnes et prières en usage dans les temples de la raison, 2nd ed.  (Paris, 1794), 167-8. 

Anonymous (fl. 1793) gave a speech at the dedication of the Temple of Reason in Autun.  The speech is printed in Consécration du temple de la raison, par les sans-culottes de la commune d’Autun. Le decadi 20 frimaire, l’an 2 de la république (n. p., 1793), 19-21.

Anonymous (fl. 1794) wrote the book Notices sur la nouvelle nomenclature des rues de la Rochelle (La Rochelle, 1795).  The best introduction to his deist ideas are pages 70-5, 180, 308-18 of this book.  

Anonymous (fl. 1794) Couplets destinés à être chantés, au nom de la jeunesse, le jour de la fête de l’Etre suprême, 20 prairial, 2e année de la République une & indivisible (n. p., 1794), 1-3.

Anonymous (fl. 1793) was a citizen of Strasbourg who wrote a short hymn to God. The hymn is printed in AP, 81:278. 

Anonymous (fl. 1793) was a member of the Popular Society of Blois. He gave a speech on 30 Nivose, An II for the inauguration of the Temple of Reason in Blois. The speech is printed in AP, 84:439-40.

Anonymous (fl. 1794) wrote the “Hymn to Equality,” in Recueil d’hymnes républicaines qui ont paru à l’occasion de la fête à l’Etre suprême, qui a été célébrée Décadi 20 prairial, l’an second de la République françoise (Paris, 1794), 65.  

Anonymous (fl. 1793) was a former priest who wrote a letter explaining why he quit the priesthood. The letter is printed in AP, 79:422-3.

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was president of the district of Lunéville. He gave a discourse at that district’s Festival of the Supreme Being. The discourse is printed in AP, 93:230-2.

Anonymous (fl. 1793) wrote a hymn chanted on 30 Nivose An II at the Fete of the Inauguration of the Temple of Reason at Chaumont.  The hymn is printed in AP, 83:720.   

Anonymous (fl. 1794) was the representative of the national government to the district around Sarre-Libre (formerly Sarre-Louis). He gave a speech at the district’s Festival of the Supreme Being. The speech is printed in AP, 93:258.

Citizen Anselin (fl. 1794) was a municipal officer of the city of Amiens.  He wrote “Couplets to the Supreme Being,” which was printed in the last two unnumbered pages in Discours prononcé au nom du Conseil-Général de la commune d’Amiens, le 20 prairial jour de la fête célébrée en l’honneur de l’Etre supreme (Amiens, 1794). 

Auguste-Louis Bertin d’Antilly (1760-1804) was a dramatist and journalist. The best introduction to his deist ideas is his “Hymn to God” in Recueil des hymnes, odes, etc., relatifs aux Fêtes Décadaires (n. p., n. d.), 5-9.

Citizen Arnould (fl. 1794) was the mayor of Commercy.  He gave a speech during the Festival of the Supreme Being in Commercy.  The speech is printed in AP, 92:471-2.  

B…  B… (fl. 1794) wrote a hymn chanted at the Fete of the Inauguration of the Temple of Reason at Chaumont.  The hymn is printed in AP, 83:722.

 Citizen Bachelu or Bachelier (fl. 1790s) had been a priest for over thirty years before he quit during the French Revolution.  He gave a speech to the National Convention which is printed in AP, 80:376.

Citizen Baignier (fl. 1790s) was one of the leaders of the Theophilanthropy worship services in Paris.  A very short introduction to his deist ideas is contained in a letter he signed. This letter is printed in Albert Mathiez, Le Theophilanthropie et le Culte Decadaire (Paris, 1904), 408-9. 

Citizen Baptiste the Elder (fl. 1794) wrote a “Hymn to God” included in Lyre, 80-3. 

V. R.  Barbet du Bertrand (1770-1830?) was a journalist and editor for various newspapers.  A good introduction to his religious ideas is pages 62-83 and 139-144 of his Almanach philosophique, ou réfléxions historico-philosophico comiques, sur les costume ecclésiastique et les cérémonies religieuses (Arras, 1792). 

Jean-François Barbier-Jenty (fl. 1799) was a lawyer and municipal officer who was elected to the Council of Five Hundred. The best introduction to his deist ideas is the speech he gave at the Festival of the Supreme Being, printed in AP, 92:84-5, and another speech he gave that is printed in AP, 91:185.

Paul Barlabé (fl. 1794) was a resident of Bordeaux.  His deist ideas are explained on pages 3-12 of his Discours sur l’origine et les horreurs du fanatisme(Bordeaux, 1794).  

Citizen Beaupoil (fl. 1794) was a brigade commander in the French army.  His deist ideas are in his short pamphlet Discours prononcé par le citoyen Beaupoil le 30 thermidor, l’an 2 de la République française, à Montauban, dans le temple de l’Être suprême (Montauban, 1794). 

Citizen Bechonnet (fl. 1790s) was a former Catholic priest who, during the French Revolution, said Christianity was a lie and superstition.  His deist ideas are expressed in a speech in the first three pages of the pamphlet Société populaire de Gannat, présidence de Sauret: séance du 8 frimaire de l’an 2 de la République une et indivisible (n. p., 1793).  

Citizen Bedoizeaux (fl. 1798) was active in Theophilanthropy in the Auxerre area.  He signed a letter, printed in Mathiez, 671-4, which expressed some of his deist beliefs. 

Citizen Bellecour the Younger (fl. 1794) was a professor of constitutional law who gave many speeches at the Temple of Reason in Toulouse.  A good introduction to his deist ideas is his short pamphlet Discours prononcé au temple de la raison, le premier décadi de ventôse an II de la République française une et indivisible (contre la religion et le fanatisme) (Toulouse?, 1794?).  

François Nicolas Benoist-Lamothe (fl. 1797) was the rector of a school in Sens as well as being one of the main promoters of Theophilanthropy.  The best introduction to his deist ideas is his short pamphlet Office divin à l’usage des Téophilantropes, ou chrétiens français, composé en grande partie des odes sacrées de J. B. Rousseau (Sens, 1797).  

L. S. J. Bernard (fl. 1794) was an engineer.  The best introduction to his deist ideas is his Discours sur la vertu, le génie, l’opinion, le travail, les récompenses, et sur les triomphes de la République: prononcé à Pont-sur-Rhône le dernier jour de la seconde année républicaine (Nismes, 1794).

Citizen Beuzelin (fl. 1794) was the representative of the French government to the town of Caen.  A good introduction to his deist ideas is the speech he gave at the Festival of the Supreme Being.  This speech is printed in pages 4-7 of Couplets destinés à être chantés, au nom de la jeunesse, le jour de la fête de l’Etre suprême, 20 prairial, 2e année de la République une & indivisible (n. p., 1794).

 Étienne-Louis Bezout (1760-1822), the nephew of the mathematician Étienne Bezout, was a lawyer and an official of the district of Nemours.  He gave a speech at the Festival of the Supreme Being held in Bourbonne-les-Eaux, which was printed in Discours sur l’existence de l’Être suprême et l’immortalité de l’âme (Chaumont, 1794). 

Étienne-Jean-François Bias-Parent (1754-1802) was a former priest who married during the French Revolution and vigorously conducted an anti-Catholic campaign as an agent for the national government.  The best introduction to his deist ideas is pages iii-v, 12-5 and 46-9 of his long pamphlet Catéchisme français, républicain: enrichi de la déclaration des droits de l’homme, et de maximes de morale républicaine, propres à l’éducation des enfans de l’un et de l’autre sexe, le tout conforme à la Constitution républicaine (Paris, 1793-4). 

Jean Nicolas Billaud-Varenne (1756-1819) was a lawyer who became one of the leading Jacobins when they were in power in 1793-4.  The best introduction to his deist ideas is his Le dernier coup porté aux préjugés et à la superstition (London, 1789), 344-362.