BARNAVE, ANTOINE PIERRE JOSEPH MARIE (1761-1793), one of the greatest orators of the first French Revolution, was born at Grenoble in Dauphine, Oct. 22 1761. Dauphine was one of the first of the provinces to feel the excite ment of the coming revolution ; and Barnave was foremost to give voice to the general feeling, in a pamphlet entitled Esprit des edits enregistres militairement le 20 mai 1788. He was immediate ly elected deputy, with his father, to the states of Dauphine, and took a prominent part in their debates. A few months later he was chosen deputy of the tiers etat for his native province. He soon made an impression on the Assembly, became the friend of most of the leaders of the popular party, and formed with Adrien Duport and Alexandre Lameth (q.v.) the group known during the Constituent Assembly as "the triumvirate." He took part in the conference on the claims of the three orders, drew up the first address to the king, and supported the proposal of Sieyes that the Assembly should declare itself National. Until 1791 he was one of the principal members of the club known later as the Jacobins, of which he drew up the manifesto and first rules (see JAcoBiNs).
Though a passionate lover of liberty, he hoped to secure the freedom of France and her monarchy at the same time. With the one exception of Mirabeau, Barnave was the most powerful orator of the Assembly. He advocated the suspensory veto, and the es tablishment of trial by jury in civil causes, but voted with the Left against the system of two chambers. His conflict with Mira beau on the question of assigning to the king the right to make peace or war (May 16-23 1791) was one of the most striking scenes in the Assembly. In Aug. 179o, after a vehement debate, he fought a duel with J. A. M. de Cazales, in which the latter was slightly wounded. About the close of Oct. 1790 Barnave was called to the presidency of the Assembly. On the arrest of the king and the royal family at Varennes, while attempting to escape from France, Barnave was one of the three appointed to conduct them back to Paris. On the journey he was affected by the mourn ful fate of Marie Antoinette, and in one of his most powerful speeches he maintained the inviolability of the king's person. His public career ended with the close of the Constituent Assembly, and he returned to Grenoble at the beginning of 1792. His sym pathy and relations with the royal family, to whom he had sub mitted a plan for a counter-revolution, brought on him suspicion of treason. Denounced (Aug. 15, 1792) in the Legislative Assem bly, he was arrested and imprisoned for ten months at Grenoble, then transferred to Fort Barraux, and in Nov. 1793 to Paris. The nobility of his character was proof against the assaults of suffer ing. "Better to suffer and to die," he said, "than lose one shade of my moral and political character." On Nov. 28 he appeared before the Revolutionary Tribunal. He was condemned on the evidence of papers found at the Tuileries and executed the next day.
Barnave's Oeuvres posthumes were published in 1842 by Berenger (de la Drome) . See F. A. Aulard, Les Orateurs de l'assemblee con stituante (1882).