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François de Neufchâteau

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Title: François de Neufchâteau  
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Subject: François Sébastien Letourneux, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, Lazare Carnot, Charles XIV John of Sweden
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François de Neufchâteau

Nicolas-Louis François de Neufchâteau (1798 engraving after a portrait by Jean-Baptiste Isabey.

Nicolas-Louis François de Neufchâteau (French pronunciation: ​; 17 April 1750 – 10 January 1828) was a French statesman, poet, and scientist.


Early years

Born at Saffais, in Meurthe-et-Moselle, the son of a schoolteacher, he studied at the Jesuit college of Neufchâteau in the Vosges, and at the age of fourteen published a volume of poetry which obtained the interest of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and of Voltaire. Neufchâteau conferred on him its name, and he was elected member of some of the main academies of France. In 1783 he was named procureur-général to the council of Saint Domingue.

He had previously been engaged on a translation of Ariosto, which he finished before his return to France five years afterwards, but it was destroyed during the shipwreck which occurred during his voyage home.


After the département of the Vosges, and elected later to the Legislative Assembly, of which he first became secretary and then president.

In 1793 he was imprisoned on account of his supposed political sentiments - as they were deduced from his drama Paméla ou la vertu récompensée (Théâtre de la Nation, 1 August 1793), but was set free a few days afterwards with the start of the Thermidorian Reaction.

Directory and Napoleon

In 1797, he became Minister of the Interior, distinguishing himself by his thorough administration. It is Neufchâteau who initiated the French system of inland navigation. He inaugurated the museum of the Louvre and was one of the promoters of the first universal exhibition of industrial products. He replaced Lazare Carnot as a member of the French Directory, a position he held between 8 September 1797, and 20 May 1798.

From 1804 to 1806 he was president of the Sénat conservateur, coinciding with the establishment of the First Empire – his office implied that he was the one to solicit Napoleon Bonaparte to assume the title of Emperor. In 1803, he was admitted to the Académie française, and in 1808 he received the dignity of count. Retiring from public life in 1814, after the Bourbon Restoration, he occupied himself chiefly with the study of agriculture until his death.


Neufchâteau had multiple accomplishments, and interested himself in a great variety of subjects, but his fame rests mostly on what he did as a statesman for the encouragement and development of the industries of France. His

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