Joseph Cambon, a French revolutionist, born at Montpellier, June 17, 1754, died in Brussels, Feb. 15, 1820. He was engaged in commercial pursuits when the revolution broke out. Upon the flight of Louis XVI. in 1791, Cambon caused the republic to be proclaimed in Montpellier. In September he was sent to the legislative assembly, promoted the confiscation of the estates of the emigres in 1792, and made after Aug. 10a report in which he argued that Louis XVL, having held a secret correspondence with the enemies of France, was guilty of high treason. He presided over the last sittings of the legislative assembly, and afterward took his seat as a member of the convention, where he voted for the immediate death of Louis XVI. and against the appeal to the people. He opposed the creation of the revolutionary tribunal, and insisted upon trial by jury. At the opening of the convention he had been appointed member of the committee on finances; on April 7, 1793, he entered the committee of public safety. On June 2, when the Girondists were threatened by the mob, he ondcavored to save them from violence, and opposed to the last the decree ordering their arrest.
In 1794 he made a report on the administration of finances, which gives a full sketch of the plan afterward adopted for the registration of public debt. In the revolution of the 9th Thermidor Cambon took part against Robespierre; but he was charged with having been his accomplice, and a warrant was issued against him. He succeeded in baffling the search for him, and finally retired to a farm in the vicinity of Montpellier. On the second return of the Bourbons he was not included in the bill of amnesty, and repaired to Brussels, where he spent his last years.