Jean Marie Collot D'Herbois, a French revolutionist, born in Paris about 1750, died in Cayenne, Jan. 8, 1796. His name was originally Collot, but having become an actor he adopted the additional name of d'Herbois. He appeared upon the stage for many years, and was the author of a large number of plays, some of which had considerable success. When the revolution broke out he joined the Jacobins at Paris, and acquired great influence by his sonorous voice, theatrical attitudes, and impulsive elocution. He was particularly energetic in his efforts to procure the release of a body of soldiers who had been imprisoned for having taken part in an insurrection at Nancy. After having been released they entered Paris in a grand procession, in which a conspicuous place was assigned to Collot. He also obtained the prize offered by the Jacobin club for the best almanac for 1792, which should make the advantages of constitutional government understood by the people. His work, called the Almanack du pere Gerard, brought him great celebrity. He presided over an assembly held for the nomination of deputies to the convention, was himself elected a member, and in that capacity favored the most violent measures.
He was chosen president of the convention, June 13, 1793, and in September of the same year he was placed with Billaud-Varennes upon the committee of public safety. In November Collot was sent with Fouche and Couthon to Lyons to punish the city for an insurrection. This was done by the slaughtering of the inhabitants en masse with grape shot, and the demolition of the buildings. When he returned to Paris he found that odium had been created against him by his proceedings at Lyons. His popularity was in some measure restored by an attempt to assassinate him, May 23,1794. From a supporter of Robespierre he now, however, became his opponent; but the reaction proved too strong for him. He was removed from the committee of public safety; and although acquitted on some charges brought against him, he was found guilty on others, and sentenced to be transported to Cayenne.