Philippe-Antoine Merlin de Douai

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Philippe-Antoine Merlin de Douai
Merlin de Douai par Delpech.jpg
Born 30 October 1754  Blue pencil.svg
Died 26 December 1838  Blue pencil.svg (aged 84)
Paris   Blue pencil.svg

Philippe-Antoine Merlin, known as Merlin de Douai (30 October 1754 – 26 December 1838) was a French politician and lawyer. [1]

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Lawyer legal professional who helps clients and represents them in a court of law

A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney, attorney at law, barrister, barrister-at-law, bar-at-law, civil law notary, counsel, counselor, counsellor, counselor at law, solicitor, chartered legal executive, or public servant preparing, interpreting and applying law, but not as a paralegal or charter executive secretary. Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who hire lawyers to perform legal services.

Contents

Personal and public life

Early years

Merlin de Douai was born at Arleux, Nord, and was called to the Flemish bar association in 1775. [2] He collaborated in the Répertoire de jurisprudence, the later editions of which appeared under Merlin's superintendence, and contributed to other important legal compilations. In 1782 he purchased a position as royal secretary at the chancellery of the Flanders parlement. His reputation spread to Paris and he was consulted by leading magistrates. The Duke of Orléans selected him to be a member of his privy council. [3]

Arleux Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Arleux is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.

A bar association is a professional association of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both. In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the bar association comprises lawyers who are qualified as barristers or advocates in particular, versus solicitors. Membership in bar associations may be mandatory or optional for practicing attorneys, depending on jurisdiction.

Parlement Ancien Régime justice court

A parlement, in the Ancien Régime of France, was a provincial appellate court. In 1789, France had 13 parlements, the most important of which was the Parlement of Paris. While the English word parliament derives from this French term, parlements were not legislative bodies. They consisted of a dozen or more appellate judges, or about 1,100 judges nationwide. They were the court of final appeal of the judicial system, and typically wielded much power over a wide range of subject matter, particularly taxation. Laws and edicts issued by the Crown were not official in their respective jurisdictions until the parlements gave their assent by publishing them. The members were aristocrats called nobles of the gown who had bought or inherited their offices, and were independent of the King.

As an elected member of the States-General for the Third Estate in Douai, he was one of the chief of those who applied the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the National Constituent Assembly's Tennis Court Oath of 4 August 1789.

Estates General (France) unelected tricameral parliament in the Kingdom of France from 1302 to 1789

In France under the Old Regime, the Estates General or States-General was a legislative and consultative assembly of the different classes of French subjects. It had a separate assembly for each of the three estates, which were called and dismissed by the king. It had no true power in its own right—unlike the English parliament it was not required to approve royal taxation or legislation—instead it functioned as an advisory body to the king, primarily by presenting petitions from the various estates and consulting on fiscal policy. The Estates General met intermittently until 1614 and only once afterwards, in 1789, but was not definitively dissolved until after the French Revolution.

Douai Subprefecture and commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Douai is a commune in the Nord département in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department. Located on the river Scarpe some 40 kilometres from Lille and 25 km (16 mi) from Arras, Douai is home to one of the region's most impressive belfries. The population of the metropolitan area, including Lens, was 552,682 in 1999.

National Constituent Assembly (France) former political body formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789 during the first stages of the French Revolution

The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789 during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.

Career

On behalf of the committee, appointed to deal with Ancien Régime nobility rights, Merlin de Douai presented to the Assembly reports on manorialism and the subjects of redistribution with compensation, and topics associated with that (hunting and fishing rights, forestry, etc.). He carried legislation for the abolition of primogeniture, secured equality of inheritance between relatives of the same degree, and between men and women. [4] He also prepared the report for the Assembly which argued that no compensation should be paid to the German princes whose lands in Alsace were forfeit when France incorporated them. [5]

Ancien Régime monarchic, aristocratic, social and political system established in the Kingdom of France from approximately the 15th century until the later 18th century

The Ancien Régime was the political and social system of the Kingdom of France from the Late Middle Ages until 1789, when hereditary monarchy and the feudal system of French nobility were abolished by the French Revolution. The Ancien Régime was ruled by the late Valois and Bourbon dynasties. The term is occasionally used to refer to the similar feudal systems of the time elsewhere in Europe. The administrative and social structures of the Ancien Régime were the result of years of state-building, legislative acts, internal conflicts, and civil wars, but they remained and the Valois Dynasty's attempts at re-establishing control over the scattered political centres of the country were hindered by the Huguenot Wars. Much of the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIII and the early years of Louis XIV were focused on administrative centralization. Despite, however, the notion of "absolute monarchy" and the efforts by the kings to create a centralized state, the Kingdom of France retained its irregularities: authority regularly overlapped and nobles struggled to retain autonomy.

French nobility privileged social class in France during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period to the revolution in 1790

The French nobility was a privileged social class in France during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period to the revolution in 1790. The nobility was revived in 1805 with limited rights as a titled elite class from the First Empire to the fall of the July Monarchy in 1848, when all privileges were abolished for good. Hereditary titles, without privileges, continued to be granted until the Second Empire fell in 1870. They survive among their descendants as a social convention and as part of the legal name of the corresponding individuals.

Manorialism economic and judicial Institution

Manorialism was an essential element of feudal society. It was the organizing principle of rural economy that originated in the Roman villa system of the Late Roman Empire, and was widely practiced in medieval western and parts of central Europe as well as China. It was slowly replaced by the advent of a money-based market economy and new forms of agrarian contract.

His numerous reports were supplemented by popular exposition of current legislation in the Journal de legislation. On the dissolution of the Assembly, he became judge of the criminal court at Douai. [6]

Judge official who presides over court proceedings

A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and, typically, in an open court. The judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the barristers of the case, assesses the credibility and arguments of the parties, and then issues a ruling on the matter at hand based on his or her interpretation of the law and his or her own personal judgment. In some jurisdictions, the judge's powers may be shared with a jury. In inquisitorial systems of criminal investigation, a judge might also be an examining magistrate.

Convention

Although not always an advocate of violent measures, as deputy to the National Convention with The Mountain, Merlin de Douai voted for the execution of King Louis XVI, and then, as a member of the council of legislation, he presented to the Convention the Law of Suspects (17 September 1793), permitting the detention of suspects, [6] (a document backed by Georges Couthon and Maximilien Robespierre). [7] He exercised missions in his native region, and accused General Charles François Dumouriez of having betrayed the country during the Campaign of the Low Countries (after the battle of Neerwinden).

National Convention single-chamber assembly in France from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795

The National Convention was the first government of the French Revolution, following the two-year National Constituent Assembly and the one-year Legislative Assembly. Created after the great insurrection of 10 August 1792, it was the first French government organized as a republic, abandoning the monarchy altogether. The Convention sat as a single-chamber assembly from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795.

The Mountain

The Mountain was a political group during the French Revolution, whose members called the Montagnards sat on the highest benches in the National Assembly.

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a government-sanctioned practice whereby a person is killed by the state as a punishment for a crime. The sentence that someone be punished in such a manner is referred to as a death sentence, whereas the act of carrying out the sentence is known as an execution. Crimes that are punishable by death are known as capital crimes or capital offences, and they commonly include offences such as murder, mass murder, terrorism, treason, espionage, offenses against the State, such as attempting to overthrow government, piracy, drug trafficking, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, but may include a wide range of offences depending on a country. Etymologically, the term capital in this context alluded to execution by beheading.

Merlin de Douai was closely allied with his namesake Merlin of Thionville and, after the start of the Thermidorian Reaction which brought about the fall of Robespierre in 1794, he became president of the Convention and a member of the Committee of Public Safety. [8] His efforts were primarily directed to the prevention of any new gathering of powers by the Jacobin Club, the Commune, and the Revolutionary Tribunal. [6]

Merlin de Douai convinced the Committee of Public Safety to agree with the closing of the Jacobin Club, on the ground that it was an administrative rather than a legislative measure. Merlin de Douai recommended the readmission of the survivors of the Girondin party to the Convention, and drew up a law limiting the right of insurrection; he had also a considerable share in the foreign policy of the French Republic. [6]

Merlin de Douai had been commissioned in April 1794 to report on the civil and criminal legislation of France, and, after eighteen months work, he produced the Rapport et projet de code des délits et des peines (10 Vendémiaire, an IV). Merlin's code abolished confiscation, branding, and life imprisonment, and was based chiefly on the penal code drawn up in September 1791. [6]

Directory

He was made Minister of Justice (30 October 1795) and later Minister of the General Police (2 January 1796) [9] under the Directory, before moving back to the Justice Ministry (3 April 1796) [10] keeping tight surveillance of the Royalist émigrés . After the coup d'état known as 18 Fructidor , he became one of the five Directors on 5 September 1797. He was accused of the bankruptcy and various other failures of the government and was forced to retire into private life during the Coup of 30 Prairial VII on 18 June 1799. [11] [6]

Consulate and Empire

Merlin de Douai had no share in Napoleon Bonaparte's 18 Brumaire coup. Under the Consulate, Merlin de Douai accepted a minor position in the Cour de cassation , where he soon became procureur-général (Attorney General). [12] Although he had no share in drawing up the Napoleonic code , he was very involved in matters regarding its application. He became a member of the Conseil d'État , Count of the Empire, and Grand Officier de la Légion d'honneur .

Exile and the July Monarchy

Having resumed his functions during the Hundred Days, he was one of those banished on the Second Bourbon Restoration.

The years of Merlin de Douai's exile were devoted to his Répertoire de jurisprudence (5th ed., 18 vols., Paris, 1827–1828) and to his Recueil alphabétique des questions de droit (4th ed., 8 vols., Paris, 1827–1828). At the 1830 July Revolution, he was able to return to France, and re-entered the Institut de France , of which he had been an original member, being admitted to the Academy of Political and Moral Sciences by the Orléans Monarchy. Merlin de Douai died in Paris. [6]

Personal life

Merlin de Douai's son, Antoine François Eugène Merlin (1778–1854), was a well-known general in the French army, and served through most of the Napoleonic Wars.

See also

Notes

  1. Leuwers, Hervé (1996), Un juriste en politique : Merlin de Douai (1754-1838), Artois Presses Universite, ISBN   978-2-910663-05-6
  2. Chronicle of the French Revolution, Longman Group 1989 p.37
  3. Chronicle of the French Revolution, Longman Group 1989 p.37
  4. Chronicle of the French Revolution, Longman Group 1989 p.146, 151
  5. Chronicle of the French Revolution, Longman Group 1989 p.177
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Chisholm 1911.
  7. Chronicle of the French Revolution, Longman Group 1989 p.366
  8. Chronicle of the French Revolution, Longman Group 1989 p.446
  9. Chronicle of the French Revolution, Longman Group 1989 p.512
  10. Chronicle of the French Revolution, Longman Group 1989 p.522
  11. Chronicle of the French Revolution, Longman Group 1989 p.637
  12. Chronicle of the French Revolution, Longman Group 1989 p.669

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References

Political offices
Preceded by
Louis Gohier
Minister of Justice
1795–1796
Succeeded by
Jean Joseph Victor Génissieu
Preceded by
Jean Joseph Victor Génissieu
Minister of Justice
1796–1797
Succeeded by
Charles Joseph Lambrechts