|7th Mayor of Paris|
14 February 1793 – 10 May 1794
|Preceded by||Nicolas Chambon|
|Succeeded by||Jean-Baptiste Fleuriot-Lescot|
5 May 1746|
|Died||18 November 1823
Thin-le-Moutier, Ardennes, France
Pache was born in Verdun, but grew up in Paris, of Swiss parentage, the son of the concièrge of the hotel of Marshal de Castries. He became tutor to the marshal's children, and subsequently first secretary at the ministry of marine, head of supplies (munitionnaire général des vivres), and comptroller of the king's household. After spending several years in Switzerland with his family, he returned to France at the beginning of the Revolution.
He was employed successively at the ministries of the interior and of war, and was appointed on 20 September 1793 third deputy suppliant of Paris by the Luxembourg section. Thus brought into notice, he was made minister of war on 3 October 1792
Pache was a Girondist himself, but aroused their hostility by his incompetence. He was supported, however, by Marat, and when he was superseded in the ministry of war by Beurnonville (4 February 1793) he was chosen mayor by the Parisians. In that capacity he contributed to the fall of the Girondists. Jean Nicolas Pache would be the first to submit a petition to the National Convention on 15 April 1793 for the totemic 22 Girondist leaders to be removed from office. Although he was scoffed at, the Commune would publish a petition for the removal of the same 22 Girondins, reinforced with 12,000 signatures, and submit it to the Convention on 18 April. The petition would again be scoffed at by a Convention led by Girondins. However, Pache and Chaumette would lead a march on the Convention on 31 May. The Convention was ultimately forced to hand over the 22 in order to appease the threatening crowd, reinforced with National Guard troops, that had arrived on the Convention floor. Pache also brought before the Convention a petition for a ’maximum’ on bread prices on 18 April. With a threat from the Commune issued to the Convention, the maximum was voted on 4 May. On 2 June Pache turned his attention to the matter of the constitution. He wrote to the departments calling for them to give the people what they had fought for time and again: the new constitution that had been promised.
His relations with Jacques Hébert and Pierre Gaspard Chaumette, and with the enemies of Robespierre led to his arrest on 10 May 1794. Jean Nicolas Pache would be replaced as mayor by Lescot-Fleuriot, who was more subservient to the Convention. He owed his safety only to the amnesty of 25 October 1795. After acting as commissary to the civil hospitals of Paris in 1799, he retired from public life, and died at Thin-le-Moutier on 18 November 1823.
Jean Nicholas Pache may not have single handedly brought down the Girondin, but his determination played an important role. Pache was a key player in changing the political scene in Paris in this time.
Pache also helped to truly give power to the people of Paris. The people of Paris had successfully humiliated the Convention in forcing it to do their bidding and the Convention would not recover this lost power until the Thermidorian Reaction shattered the power of the Jacobin Clubs and sans culottes. The people of Paris would not forget this and the legacy of "the people in arms" would have a long-term impact on the French revolutionary tradition, in the readiness of the Parisian population to "rush to the barricades," through the 19th and 20th centuries.
- John W. Fortescue, A History of the British Army, vol. IV, part I, London, Macmillan, 1915, p.
- Andress, David The Terror New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
- Madelin, Louis The French Revolution London: William Heineman, 1923.
- Thompson, J. M. The French Revolution Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1966
- L. Pierquin, Memoires sur Pache (Charleville, 1900).
- J. M. Thompson, The French Revolution (Oxford, 1966).
- Louis Madelin, The French Revolution (London, 1923).
- David Andress, The Terror (New York, 2005).
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pache, Jean Nicolas". Encyclopædia Britannica 20 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Pierre Henri Hélène Marie Lebrun-Tondu
|Secretary of State for War
18 October 1792 – 4 February 1793
Pierre Riel de Beurnonville