SLEYES, EMMANUEL JOSEPH, Comte, who, as the abbe Sieyes, prominently figures in the history of the French revolution, was born at Frejus, May 3, 1748. He was educated at the university of Paris with a view to his entering the church; and on the completion of his studies he obtained the appointment at Treguier, in Bretagne (1775), whence, in 1780 he was transferred to the cathedral of Chartres, of the diocese of which he became chancellor and vicar-general. He had early imbibed the extreme liberal opinions on all matters social and political which were preparing the French revolution; and when, in 1789, the states-general were summoned, he issued his famous pamphlet, entitled Qu'est-ce quele Tiers 7Etat? This work, which claimed for the people political recognition, naturally enough obtained an immense popularity for its author, and pro cured his election as one of the deputies for Paris. Mainly through his urgency and influence it was that, on June 16, 1789, the representatives of the people took the decisive step of constituting themselves into an independent body, and became the national assembly. Of this body he continued for some time to be one of the most prominent and leading figures. In 1791 he was elected to the legislative assembly, then convened, as member for the department of Paris. By this time, however, he had sunk somewhat from his first pre-eminence; bolder and fiercer spirits had passed him in the- race for power and popularity, and where he had once led, 1 e now reluctantly followed. In the convention of 1792, to which he was elected as deputy of the department of La Sarthe, he prudently refrained from any active participation in the debates, and cn the occasion of the king's trial he recorded a silent vote. While Robespierre and his party were in power, he consulted his safety by retiring from Paris. When afterward asked what he bad done during the reign of terror, he quietly replied : J'ai recu ("I have lived "). On the fall of Robespierre he returned to his post in the convention, and resumed his active interest in affairs, becoming a member of the new committee of public safety. He was engaged chiefly in the department of foreign policy, and lie went as ambassador to Hol land and Berlin successively to negotiate treaties of alliance. He became a member of
the directory in 1799, and among other reactionary measures, he succeeded in closing the celebrated Jacobin club. Perceiving that a stable government was on no other terms possible, he became anxious to secure the co-operation of some powerful military leader, the more particularly as he was ambitious above all things of giving France a consti tution" (of which he had drawn up one or several); and on the return of Bonrparte from Egypt, he entered into a league with him, the result of which was the revolution of the 18th Brumaire (Nov. 9, 1799), and the institution of the consulate. Sieyes, Napoleon, and Roger Ducos being the three first consuls. Speedily, however, Sieyes discovered in his new ally his master. As to the distribution of power in the new constitution to be formed, he and Napoleon differed irreconcilably; the man of bayonets was the stronger; his political nostrums never got beyond the paper on which they were written; and finally, in disgust at the subordinate position into which he found himself about to sink Sieyes threw up his place in the government. As a reward of his services, he receive4 on his retirement a sum of 600.000 francs and the estate of Crosne; afterward exchanged for the equivalent of a splendid hotel in Paris and the lands of Fainanderie, in the park of Versailles. Also the title of count was conferred upon him. Subsequently the presidency of. the senate was offered him, but he declined it, and never afterward con cerned himself in public affairs. Banished at the restoration, lie did not return to France till after the revolution of 1830; and itr Paris, on June 20, 1836, lie died. During the revolution Sieyes drew up a good many papers of one kind and anothee; but he is chiefly remembered for his plan of a new constitution, which, however, is very little knoWn. Mignet's Histoire de 1a, Revolution contains a description of it: anti under the title of 21teorie Constitutionelle of Sieyes, and Constitution, de 1 'An VIII, Id. Boulay (de la Meurthe) published (Par. 1836) from Sieyes own Met-noires Inedits a more detailed account.