Jerome Petion Or Pethion (De Villeveuve), a French revolutionist, born in Chartres in 1753, died near St. Emilion, Gironde, in June, 1794. He was a lawyer at Chartres, and in 1789 was elected deputy to the states general. In 1790 he was chosen president of the assembly. He was a bitter enemy of the court and of Mirabeau, and was one of the three commissioners who after the flight of the royal family, June, 1791, were sent to bring them back, treating them very roughly. Being elected mayor of Paris in preference to Lafayette, he secretly assisted in the popular manifestation of June 20, 1792, and was consequently suspended from his functions by the departmental directory, but was restored by order of the assembly, which had become alarmed by the popular cry of "Petion or death!" He participated in the insurrection of Aug. 10, when he caused himself to be kept under guard by his own friends in order to be excused from any active proceedings to quell the troubles; neither did he interfere to stop the dreadful massacres of September. In the same year he was elected to the convention by the department of Eure-et-Loir, and nominated the first president of that assembly. He now leaned toward a milder policy, sided with the Girondists, and lost his popularity.
He had insisted upon Louis XVI. being tried, and voted for his death, but on condition that an appeal might be made to the people. He was proscribed in conjunction with the Girondists (June, 1793), escaped from Paris, wandered for some months near Bordeaux, and finally was found dead, with Buzot, half devoured by wolves, both having probably committed suicide. The works of Petion were published in Paris in 1793 (4 vols. 8vo); they consist merely of speeches and political tracts.