Jean Nicolas Billaud-Varenne, a French revolutionist, born at La Rochelle, April 23, 1756, died in Hayti, June 3, 1819. He was an advocate of Paris, and at the beginning of the revolution became conspicuous for his hostility to the government and the clergy, whom he assailed in several publications. On July 1, 1791, at one of the meetings of the "Friends of the Constitution," he proposed to change the French monarchy into a republic; the same year he published his celebrated pamphlet Acephalocratie, and was appointed a member of the commune of Paris. In 1792 he took his seat in the convention, where he voted not only for the death of the king, but for that of the queen and ministers. He was chosen president of the convention, and member of the committee of public safety, and in this capacity founded the still existing Bulletin des lois, and was the framer of the revolutionary government. In 1794 he took part in the overthrow of Robespierre, but was himself soon alter accused by his new allies (May 25, 1795), and together with Collot-d'IIerbois, Barrere, and Va-dier sentenced to transportation.
For 20 years he lived at Cayenne, refusing to avail himself of the amnesty offered by Napoleon after the 18th Brumaire. In 1816, however, he escaped, and established himself at Port-au-Prince, where he barely made a living by the law.