Joseph Foullon de Doué

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Joseph-François Foullon

Joseph-François Foullon de Doué, or Foulon de Doué (25 June 1715–22 July 1789), was a French politician and a Controller-General of Finances under Louis XVI.


Born in Saumur, Maine-et-Loire, he was Intendant-General of the armies during the Seven Years' War, and Intendant of the Army and Navy under Marshal de Belle-Isle. In 1771 he was appointed Intendant of Finances. In 1789, when Jacques Necker was dismissed, Foullon was appointed Controller-General of Finances and minister of the king's household, having been the choice of the reactionary party as a substitute.

He became unpopular on all sides. The farmers-general resented his severity, and the Parisians his wealth, viewed as resulting from exploitation of the poor. An unsubstantiated rumor accused him of having said during an earlier famine: "If those rascals have no bread, then let them eat hay". A staunch conservative, he also was very hostile to Louis Philippe d'Orléans' circle.

Foullon was member of the Parlement of Paris prior to the French Revolution, nicknamed Ame damnée (familiar demon).

Refuge and murder[edit]

After the storming of the Bastille on 14 July, aware of the people's hatred, Foullon fled Paris to his friend Antoine de Sartine's house at Viry-Châtillon, a few miles south of the capital. He attempted to spread the news of his death.

He was, however, soon captured by the peasants on Sartine's estate, and taken to the Hôtel de Ville (made to walk barefoot, he had a bundle of hay tied to his back, was given to drink only peppered vinegar, and had the sweat on his face wiped off with nettles).

Jean Sylvain Bailly and the Marquis de La Fayette tried to interpose themselves, but Foullon de Doué was dragged out, together with his son-in-law Bertier de Sauvigny, by the populace to the Place de Grève. As he was hanged from a lamp-post, the rope broke three times in a row — so members of the crowd decided to behead him instead, before parading his head on a pike with his mouth stuffed with hay. (Bertier de Sauvigny was killed at roughly the same time.) This episode is mentioned in Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.