FORME, Josfum, Duke of Otranto, the son of a sea-captain, was b. at Nantes, 29th May, 1763, and educated at the oratoire. He bailed the revolution with enthusiasm, and in 1792 became a member of the national convention. He voted for the death of Louis XVI., and was one of the commissioners of the committee of public safety sent to Lyons in 1794 to reduce that city to obedience. In 1795, he was expelled from the convention as a dangerous terrorist, and kept in confinement for a short time. After the revolution of the 18th Brumaire (5th Nov., 1799), in which he took a part, F., as min. inter of police (an office to which lie had been appointed on the 31st July of the smile year), organized an extraordinary police. He restrained the new government from deeds of violence, and by his advice the list of emigres was closed, a general amnesty proclaimed, and the principle of moderation and conciliation shadily adhered to. His remark upon the execution of the duke d'Enghien was very happy: " (rest biers pis qu'un crime, c'est une faute" (It is-much worse than a crime; it is a blunder). In July, 1804, he was again placed at the head of the police. His chief endeavors were directed, as before, to attaching the royalists to the imperial throne by prudent moderation. In 1809, the emperor conferred on him the title of duke of Otranto, along with large grants from the revenues of the territory. When the English expedition lauded on Walcheren (1809), the emperor was absent, and F., who then held the port folio of the interior, as well as of the police, organized the measures that led to the retirement of the English. In a proclamation issued on this occasion, he made use of a boastful expression which lost him the favor of Napoleon, and in the following year he was forced to resign. In the campaign of 1813, the emperor summoned F. to head quarters at Dresden, and sent him thence as governor of the Illyrian provinces, and, after the battle of Leipsic, to Rome and Naples, iu order to keep a watch upon Murat's proceedings. Being recalled to Paris in the spring of 1814, he predicted the downfall
of Napoleon even before his arrival in France. After the emperor's abdication, F. advised him to abandon Europe altogether. On his return from Elba, Napoleon again nominated him minister of police; but after the battle of Waterloo, F. placed himself at the head of the provisional government, brought about the capitulation of Paris, and drew back the army behind the Loire, thereby preventing unnecessary bloodshed. At the restoration, Louis XVIII. reappointed him minister of police; but he resigned his office in few mouths, and went as ambassador to Dresden. The law of the 12th Jan., 1816, banishing all those who had voted for the death of Louis XVI., was extended to F. also, who from that time resided in different parts of Austria. He died at Trieste, 26th Dec., 1820, leaving an immense fortune. Napoleon, at St. Helena, called F. "a miscreant of all colors;" and Bourrienne declares that lie `. never regarded a benefit in any other light than as a means of inluring his benefactor"—statements which are far too exaggerated to be worth much. 'I he simple truth appears to be; that F. was a man whose highest principle was self-interest, but whose sagacity was not less conspicuous, and who never failed to give the governments which he served the soundest political advice. It is true, however, that be was unscrupulous in passing from one party to another, and that he was as destitute of political morality as Napoleon himself. In his private relations, the character of F. stands higher than in his public. As father of a family and as a friend lie is worthy of all praise. He saved many a life; and harsh measures were often softened by his considerate administration. In 1824 appeared a work entitled de Fouche, Due d'Otrante, edited by A. Beauchamp, which, though declared to-be spurious by the sons of F., is generally held to have been based on genuine documents.