Louis Francois Bertin, a French journalist, born in Paris, Dec. 14, 1766, died there, Sept. 13, 1841. The revolution diverting him from the priesthood, he engaged in journalism, opposing the excesses of the Jacobins. In January, 1800, he founded the Journal des Debats, which under his direction and that of his relatives, and through the collaboration of Chateaubriand, Madame de Stael, Royer-Collard, and other celebrated writers, ultimately became the most influential journal in France. Although it professed to be exclusively literary and artistic, historical and political allusions were occasionally introduced which the authorities construed as royalistic. Napoleon had the editor arrested in the first year, and after nine months' imprisonment banished to Elba; and it was only after several years that he was allowed to resume the control of the paper, and on condition of his paying annually 24,000 francs to the censor, calling his publication the Journal de VEmpire, and submitting to the control of the emperor's agents. It was suppressed nevertheless in 1811, and Bertin again banished to Elba, whence the next year he escaped to Italy. In 1814 the publication was resumed under the original title.
Bertin followed Louis XVIII. to Ghent, but opposed him after his rupture with Chateaubriand, on which occasion these words appeared in the Debats: Malheureuse France, malheureux roi. For this he was prosecuted, but acquitted on appeal. After the July revolution the paper became very prosperous, Bertin invariably declining public office, though generously supporting the claims of his collaborators. He has been called the chief of the Bertin dynasty. He wrote several novels, partly after English originals, and possessed- exquisite powers of literary appreciation; but his fame rests on his eminent services to French journalism. - He was succeeded as editor-in-chief by his son Louis Marie Armand, born in Paris, Aug. 22, 1801. He was secretary of legation in London under Chateaubriand, and did much to enlist the best talent for the Debats, though he personally wrote little. On his death, Jan. 12, 1854, the direction of the journal devolved upon his brother Edouaed Francois, born in Paris in 1797. He was inspector of fine arts under Louis Philippe, and is an esteemed landscape painter. As editor of the Debats he has supported the cause of Italy and of the United States, and displayed great tact in making the paper popular among all classes.
His sister Louise Angelique, born Jan. 15, 1805, composed several operas, including Faust (1831) and Esmeralda (1836), the latter founded on Victor Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris. In 1842 she published Les glanes, a volume of poetry, to which the academy awarded a prize.