COLLOT D'HERBOIS, JEAN MARIE French revolutionist, was a Parisian by birth and an actor by profession. He became director of the playhouse at Geneva. By the publication of L'Almanach du Pere Gerard (1791), a little book setting forth, in homely style, the advantages of a constitu tional monarchy, he suddenly acquired fame. He intervened on behalf of the Swiss of the Château-Vieux regiment, condemned to the galleys for mutiny at Nancy, and secured their liberation. He was a member of the Commune of Paris on Aug. 1o, 1792, and was elected deputy for Paris to the convention, where he was the first to demand the abolition of royalty (on Sept. 21, 1792), and he voted the death of Louis XVI. "sans sursis." After the coup d'etat of May 31, 1793, he made himself conspicuous by his pitiless pursuit of the defeated Girondins. In June he was made president of the convention ; and in September became a member of the committee of public safety. The convention sent him, on Oct. 3o, 1793, to suppress the revolt of Lyons. There he introduced the Terror in its most terrible form.
In May 1794 an attempt was made to assassinate Collot; but it only increased his popularity, and this won him the hatred of Robespierre, against whom he took sides on the 9th Thermidor, when he presided over the convention during a part of the session. During the Thermidorian reaction he was one of the first to be accused of complicity with the fallen leader but was acquitted. Denounced a second time, he defended himself by pleading that he had acted-for the cause of the Revolution but was condemned with Barere and Billaud-Varenne to transportation to Cayenne (March '795), where he died on Jan. 8, 1796.
Collot d'Herbois wrote and adapted from the English and Spanish many plays, one of which, Le Paysan magistrat, kept the stage for several years.
See F. A. Aulard, Les Orateurs de la Legislative et de la Con vention, t. ii. pp. 501-512 (1885-86) . The principal documents relative to the trial of Collot d'Herbois, Barere, and Billaud-Varenne are indicated in Aulard, Recueil des actes du comite de salut public, t. i. pp. 5 and 6.