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Biographie Universelle, Ancienne Et Moderne (Extracts )

Jean Pierre Jacques Auguste de Labouisse-Rochefort, writer, born at Saverdun, a small town in the department of Ariege, France on the 14th July, 1778. His Father, by the name of Jean was Chevalier de St. Louis and Coseigneur de Saverdun. His Mother, Anne de Bonaffos was the daughter of Baron Jean Pierre de Bonaffos, Seigneur de Latour.

The Young Auguste was four years old when he lost his Father, his three sisters being deceased prior to his birth, he remained the only child of a Mother to whom he was ever a consolation and happiness. Labouisse received his elementary education at Montreal from his Grandfather, the Baron Bonaffos, he later entered the Royal Military school of Soreze.

The revolution soon interrupted his studies and obliged him to return home. He was not then thirteen years old. During the reign of terror Labouisse with his Mother was arrested and taken to Pamiers, she was confined in the College of the town and young Auguste in the ancient convent of the Carmelites. The poor boy fell dangerously ill. For a sum of money they arranged his removal in secret, near to Madame de Labouisse, which in consequence was to the woman's prison, where he was obliged to remain for some time. A man whose good name and very life had been once saved by Auguste's father, discovered him and put his name down on the list of unfortunate people who were to be sent to Nantes for execution by drowning in the Loire, he was about to go, when Pagnel the representative of the people came to make an inspection of the Prisons of Pamiers. Indignant at finding so young a detennu (Labouisse was not older than fifteen years), he gave him his freedom. He also set the boys dear Mother free, but on one condition that they both betook themselves to a distance of twenty leagues from Saverdun. Labouisse submitted without murmur.

But soon tired of this exile, he inopportunely visited his birth place and courageously presented himself at the house of the commune to have annulled the order which had deprived him of his landed estates. He did not need to offer reassurances in a small town where he found, so to speak, nothing but friends amongst the inhabitants. After his return, the young Auguste began his literary studies, studies which later became a veritable passion with him, which he retained all his life. At the age of twenty eight years he went to Paris for the first time. His devotion to the Royalist cause led him into great dangers. He immediately joined the underground party (Clicheen) of which Pichegru was to be the Chief. One day when he had been ordered out on a counter patrol he was caught armed and taken away, drums beating, to be shot along with a score of young men arrested with him. He marched forward sadly between a double row of soldiers, when one of his companions, a strong and brave colonial officer took him by the arm and shook it vigorously. Labouisse guessed his thoughts and watched his movements. All of a sudden when passing a narrow and hidden road this officer threw himself whom he overturned and broke the line of guards, six prisoners thus making their escape. They were pursued for three quarters of an hour, but in vain......... Labouisse was saved, but what became of the other young men?

Escaped by a miracle, Labouisse managed to break through the barriers of Paris and went to hid himself with his unfortunate companions in the forest of Senart, where he spent several weeks. He did not revisit the capital until he judged that calm was re-established.

The young Auguste allowed the aggressive and ever emotional side of his political outlook to dominate his literary work. He completed and perfected his studies and soon became a Writer. He produced his first poems in 1797................. (Here follows details of his literary life).

In 1802 Labouisse visited Toulouse where he married Eleonore Musard de Saint-Michel, a Creole born in the Ile de France, whose family misfortunes there, had happily begun to improve on the continent. To remarkable good looks and an excellent education,

Eleonore added the rarer qualities of mind and heart, she composed delightful sonnets with natural ability. Eleonore's father (Michel Musard) had at one time possessed a vast fortune estimated at close on two million francs, but fortune is brittle (fortune vitree est). The revolt of the Negroes at Santo Domingo (St. Domingue) destroyed almost all his properties and brought him within an inch of ruin.

At the time of his daughters marriage (1802), M. Musard still possessed in Ile de France a house which he sold for a hundred thousand francs. This sum of money he divided and dispatched to France on four ships, all of which were captured as prizes by the English. M. Musard had recourse to loans, Labouisse came to his assistance, paid his debts with his Mother in law, stood by him (i.e. Musard), thus creating one happy family. These sacrifices shook Labouisse's means, which had already had holes made in it during the revolution, through a reimbursement to him in worthless paper currency (assignats) of 40,000 francs. Hence in 1810 he accepted a lucrative post in the Government Ministry of tobacco.

Labouisse lived tranquilly and happily amidst a charming family surrounded by numerous friends with similar literary tastes, until suddenly in blow after blow he lost three of his children and a short time after in 1833 he dearly beloved wife, Eleonore. To these sorrows were added trials of another kind, his means which were considerably reduced as was clearly seen, by the reimbursements to him made in worthless paper currency and by the sums given to his Father in law (Musard) were further diminished by the loss of his post, which he relinquished in 1830.................. (Much is omitted here as to Labouisse's literary abilities, works, appearance and his character etc.) Labouisse died at Castelnaudary (In the small department of Aude in Southern France), 22nd February, 1852.

  1. Musard= Muzard In Ile de France (Mauritius today) Muzard is spelt with a 'Z' whereas in Toulouse it has the softer 'S' form in the spelling.
  2. Technically the house in Ile de France belonged to Jeanne (nee Eluard) Muzard who married Michel Muzard after the death of her first husband, Jacques Chopin. According to the census returns, she was in possession of the property before her marriage to Michel Muzard