Gay De Vernon Leonard
Gay de Vernon Leonard, a French priest and politician, was born at St. Leonard (Limousin) in 1748. When the French Revolution broke out he was curate of Compeignac, a town near Limoges. Siding at once with the people, he was the first to place the Domine salvam fac gentem before the Domine salvum fac regem, and, in consequence, was appointed constitutional bishop of Haute-Vienne, March 13, 1791. Sent as deputy to the Legislature, he sided with Torne, metropolitan of Cher, in demanding that the clergy should be permitted to lay aside their peculiar dress. Having been re-elected to the Convention, he joined the extreme Republicans, and from the midst of "La Montague" cast his vote for the death of Louis XVI, and caused the arrest of some of the Girondists. In the Council of Five Hundred, of which he was a member, he maintained the same opinions. The Directory, to get rid of him, appointed him, June 9,1798, on a commercial mission to Tripoli, in Syria. He afterwards became general secretary of the Roman republic at Rome, but was deposed by Barras, and even forbidden to enter France. He nevertheless secretly came back, and remained hidden in the department of Doubs until June 18, 1799, when a change of government enabled him to obtain the repeal of the sentence of exile. About 1802 he founded a school in Paris, in connection with several other learned men, but was again exiled in consequence of the law of Jan. 12,1816. In 1819 he finally obtained leave to return, and died at Vernon, near Limoges, October 20, 1822. See Mahul, Ann. necrologique (1822, page 99); Thiers, Hist. de la Revolution. Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 19:756.