I. Pierre Louis, a French jurist, born in Metz in 1751, died in Paris, Sept. 5, 1824. He had gained distinction both as an advocate and litterateur, when in 1778 he went to Paris, and was for several years one of the editors of the Grand Repertoire de Jurisprudence. His Discours sur le prejuge des peines infamantes was crowned by the French academy in 1786, and in 1787 he was one of a commission named by the king for the reform of penal legislation. In 1791 he was elected deputy for Paris in the legislative assembly, where he voted with the minority which defended the constitution of that year, supported the constitution in the club of the Feuillants, opposed the accusation of Lafayette in 1792, and afterward retired from Paris till the 9th Thermidor. He was a member of the legislative body in 1801, and succeeded La Harpe in the French academy in 1803. He accepted no office under the empire or the restoration, and wrote against the latter in the Minerve Francaise, founded in 1817 by Benjamin Constant, Etienne, Jouy, and others, of which he was one of the editors.
II. Jean Charles Dominique De, a French historian, brother of the preceding, born in Metz, Sept. 3, 1766, died near Macon, March 26, 1855. He went to Paris in 1787, and was attached for a time to the Journal des Debats, for which he reported the speeches made in the constituent assembly and wrote many articles. In 1790 he became secretary to the duke de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt; and he was associated with him in the project of securing the escape of the royal family, which was defeated by the king's indecision. After the execution of Louis XVI., of which he composed the narrative that was generally copied and translated, he occupied himself in lecturing on history and in writing for the Journal de Paris and the Republicain Francais against the Jacobin party. On the 13th Vendemiaire (year IV.) he was proscribed as one of the leaders of the royalist movement against the convention, and retired to Epinay, where he began (1795) his Histoire de France pendant le dix-huitieme siecle (6 vols. 8vo, 1808). Returning to Paris, he was arrested on the 18th Fructidor, and imprisoned for 23 months (1797-9). Under the empire he was a member of the bureau of the press, editing at the same time Le Publiciste, became imperial censor in 1810, successor of Esmenard in the academy in 1811, and professor of history in the faculty of letters in 1812, where for 36 years his course was numerously attended.
He was among the first to rally around the Bourbons in 1814, and in 1822 he received letters of nobility from Louis XVIII. When in 1827 Peyronnet proposed a law restricting the press, Lacretelle delivered before the academy an eloquent harangue against it, which led that body to address the king in opposition to it. For this speech he lost his office of royal censor, which he had held since 1814. He retired to Macon in 1848. His historical works, nine in number, comprise the period from the commencement of the religious wars to the accession of Louis Philippe, but most fully that of the first revolution. Most of them are the first that were written on the period of which they treat, and the judgments are often those of a contemporary partisan.
III. Henri De, a French author, son of the preceding, born in Paris in 1816. He has published a number of works, including Les cloches (poems, 1841), Dona Carmen (1844), Valence de Simian (1845), Nocturnes (1846), Contes de la meridienne (1859), Les noces de Pierrette (1859), Les nuits sans etoiles (1861), Le colonel Jean (1865), and Sous la hache (1872). The last, a philosophical romance, is a plea for the abolition of the death penalty. In 1871 he was elected to represent Saone-et-Loire in the national assembly.