RABAUT (ST. ÉTIENNE), rê'bo, JEAN PAUL: French Protestant, oldest son of Paul Rabaut; b. at Nimes Nov. 14, 1743; d. at Paris Dec. 5, 1794. As a student he gave evidence of great oratorical ability. He was ordained to the ministry in 1764; the next year he became his father's colleague, and a "preacher in the Desert." In 1768 he married, and was subsequently diverted from his career as a preacher into the current of political affairs. He went to Paris in 1785 to labor for the liberation from prison of his coreligionists, where he gained the ear of such influential men as Rulhières, Malesherbes, and Lafayette. He was appointed deputy from his native town to the National Assembly, and in the memorable session of 1789 his arguments produced such profound impression that the motion of Count Castellane was carried: "No man should be disturbed because of his opinions or harassed in the exercise of his religion." On Mar. 14, 1790, he was, in spite of the decided opposition of the Roman Catholic party, elected president of the National Assembly. During his sojourn in Paris he devoted himself to literary pursuits, and on Sept. 2, 1792, he was again elected to the National Convention. In the trial by that assembly of Louis XVI. he cast his vote against the latter, urging clemency, while throughout the proceedings he strongly contended against the jurisdiction of the convention in its case against the king. He was promptly proscribed by the authorities, but managed to keep in hiding until Dec. 4 of that year, when, owing to an indiscretion, he was arrested, and on the following day beheaded under Robespierre's régime. His collected works appeared in six volumes, edited by his friend, Boissy d'Anglas (Paris, 1820-26); the most noteworthy being: Le Vieux Cévenol, ou anecdotes de la vie d'Ambroise Borelly (1779), appearing under different titles 1788, 1820, 1826, etc., where, interwoven with a family biography, may be found a thrilling account of the persecutions and hardships to which the followers of Protestantism were subjected by the Roman Catholic party and the French government; Lettre our la vie de Court de Gébelin (1784); Lettres d M. Bailly sur l'histoire primitive de la Grêce (1787); while the best account, from a historical standpoint, of the French Revolution may be found in
BIBLIOGRAPHY: A sketch of the life prefaces the collected works, >ut sup. Consult further: Collin de Prancy, Œuvres de Rabaul St. Etienne, 2 vols., Paris, 1826; L. Bresson, Rabaul St. Etienne, sa vie et ses œuvres, Strasburg, 1865; C. Dardier, in Revue chrétienne, Feb., 1886; A. Lods, Esaai our la vie de Rabaul St. Etienne, Paris, 1893; Tercentenary Celebration of the Promulgation of the Edict of Nantes, pp. 169, 338, New York, 1900; and the literature under RABAUT, PAUL, especially the work of A. Borrel.
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