Maximin Isnard (16 November 1755 Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes - 12 March 1825 Grasse), French revolutionary, was a dealer in perfumery at Draguignan when he was elected deputy for the département of the Var to the Legislative Assembly, where he joined the Girondists.
Before the French Revolution
Born in 1755, he was the last son of Maximin Isnard and Anne-Thérèse Fanton. He became perfumer in Draguignan before opening a factory specializing in silk and soap.
Isnard was quickly a revolutionary in accepting "new ideas" at the beginning of the Revolution, in 1789-1790.
Isnard was linked to Brissot and sat at the left of the Assembly. He was very violent in his talks. For example, in his opinion, the French State had to deport all priests who have not accepted the Revolution.
He supported the "brissotins" who wanted a war against foreign countries, in order to strengthen Revolution.
Attacking the court, and the Austrian committee in the Tuileries, he demanded the disbandment of the king's bodyguard, and reproached Louis XVI for infidelity to the constitution. But on 20 June 1792, when the crowd invaded the palace, he was one of the deputies who went to place themselves beside the king to protect him.
Member of the National Convention
He voted for the death of Louis XVI in January 1793 and became a member of the Committee of General Security.
The committee, consisting of 25 members, proved unwieldy, and on 4 April, Isnard presented, on behalf of the Girondist majority, the report recommending a smaller committee of nine, which two days later was established as the Committee of Public Safety.
President of the National Convention (May 1793)
He was elected President of the Convention on 16 May 1793.
Isnard was presiding at the Convention when a deputation of the commune of Paris came to demand that Jacques René Hébert should be set at liberty, and he made the famous reply: "If by these insurrections, continually renewed, it should happen that the principle of national representation should suffer, I declare to you in the name of France that soon people will search the banks of the Seine to see if Paris has ever existed" 
On 2 June 1793 he offered his resignation as representative of the people, but was not comprised in the decree by which the Convention determined upon the arrest of twenty-nine Girondists. On 3 October, however, his arrest was decreed along with that of several other Girondist deputies who had left the Convention and were fomenting civil war in the departments.
Seating to the Right, he became an adversary of more extremist revolutionaries.
In 1797 he retired to Draguignan.
End of life
In 1802, he published a pamphlet titled De l'immortalité de l'âme ("Immortality of Soul"), in which he praised Catholicism, and in 1804 another pamphlet, Réflexions relatives au sénatus-consulte du 28 floréal an XII, an enthusiastic apology for the Empire.
He was a supporter of Napoléon Ier, who named him Baron in 1813.
Upon the restoration he professed such royalist sentiments that he was not disturbed, in spite of the law of 1816 proscribing regicide ex-members of the Convention.
In 1825, he died in Grasse, in a deep anonymity.
See FA Aulard, Les Orateurs de la Legislative et de la Convention (Paris, 2nd ed., 1906).
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- "Si jamais la Convention était avilie, si jamais par une de ces insurrections qui depuis le 10 mars se renouvellent sans cesse, et dont les magistrats n'ont jamais averti la Convention [...] Si par ces insurrections toujours renaissantes il arrivait qu'on portât atteinte à la représentation nationale, je vous le déclare, au nom de la France entière, Paris serait anéanti... ". He said also : « Bientôt, on chercherait sur les rives de la Seine la place où cette ville aurait existé ».
- Isnard, Maximin (1794). Proscription d'Isnard. Paris.