Gregoire, Henri constitutional bishop of Blois, was born at Veho, near Luneville, December 4, 1750. He was educated at the Jesuits' College of Nancy, entered. the Church, and became teacher in the school at Ponta-Mousson. When the French Revolution broke out he embraced its principles, and in 1789 he was elected a member of the States-general. He soon became distinguished for the boldness of his opinions on civil and religious liberty; his eloquent efforts in favor of the Jews and the blacks placed him high among the friends of humanity. It was on his motion that the Convention in 1794 abolished negro slavery. He was the first among the clergy to take the constitutional oath. In September 1792, he advocated the abolition of royalty in the Convention, yet proposed also the abolition of capital punishment, intending thus to save the king's life. In the Reign of Terror he had the courage to resist in the Convention the storm of invectives from the tribunes, and the threats from the Mountain. "Are sacrifices demanded for the country?" he said; "I am accustomed to make them. Are the revenues of my bishopric demanded? I abandon them without regret. Is religion the subject of your deliberations? It is a matter beyond your jurisdiction; I demand the freedom of religious worship." Later, he was one of five who opposed the accession of the first consul to the throne. In 1814 he signed the act deposing the emperor, and the next year, as member of the Institute, declined signing the additional act, which led, in the Restoration, to his expulsion both from that body and from the bishopric. He then devoted himself to literary and benevolent labors until his death, April 28, 1831. He had a large share in the foundation of some of the greatest institutions of that period, such as the Bureau des Longitudes, the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, and the Institut National. Notwithstanding his great services to religion and humanity, and his repeated refusals, in the worst periods of the Revolution, to abandon the Roman Catholic Church, he was treated by the authorities of that Church, on their return to power, not merely with neglect, but with cruelty. The archbishop of Paris refused him the last sacraments, except on condition of retracting the constitutional oath taken forty years before, and also refused him Catholic burial! His principal publications are Essai sur la
regeneration morale, physique et politique des Juifs (Metz, 1789): — Memoire en faveur des gens de sang mele de St. Domingue, etc. (1789): — De la litterature des Negres; recherches seur leurs facultes intellectualles et morales: — Libertes de l'eglise Gallicane (1826, 2d edit.): — Histoire des sectes religieuses dans les quatre parties du monde (2d ed. 1828, 6 volumes, 8vo): — Chronique seligieuse (6 volumes, 8vo): — Recueil de lettres encycliques: — Annales de la religion (18 volumes, 8vo). — Herzog, 5:319; Migne; Carnot, Memoires de Gregoire (1837, 2 volumes, 8vo); Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 21:882.