Bailly, Jean Sylvain

Bailly, Jean Sylvain

(zhäN sēlvăN` bäyē`), 1736–93, French astronomer and politician. His works on astronomy and on the history of science (notably the Essai sur la théorie des satellites de Jupiter) were distinguished both for scientific interest and literary elegance and earned him membership in the French Academy, the Academy of Sciences, and the Academy of Inscriptions. He was elected (1789) from Paris to the States-General and was chosen president of the National Assembly. Mayor of Paris from 1789 to 1791, he lost favor with the popular elements that pushed the French Revolution onward. He permitted the national guard to fire upon a demonstrating crowd (July 17, 1791). Bailly retired from Paris, but in 1793 he was seized, taken to Paris, convicted of having contrived the July massacre, and guillotined.

Bailly, Jean Sylvain

 

Born Sept. 15, 1736, in Paris; died Nov. 11, 1793, on the Champ de Mars. Figure in the Great French Revolution and astronomer. Member of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1763).

Bailly worked in various areas of astronomy, and in particular, studied Jupiter and its satellites. One of the leaders of the prominent bourgeoisie and its party of constitutionalists, he was the first president of the National Assembly (June-July 1789) and first mayor of Paris (1789–91). Bailly favored an agreement with the monarchy and endeavored to thwart the development of the revolution. Together with M. J. Lafayette, he was responsible for firing on the popular demonstration on the Champ de Mars on July 17, 1791. During the Jacobean dictatorship, he was beheaded on orders of the revolutionary tribunal.

REFERENCE

Smith, E. B. Jean Sylvain Bailly, 1736–1793. Philadelphia, 1954. (With bibliography of Bailly’s works and literature about him.)
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