Pierre-Antoine Berryer

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Pierre-Antoine Berryer
Illustration of Berryer (c. 1820)
Member of the Legislative Body
for Bouches-du-Rhône
In office
15 June 1863 – 29 November 1868
Preceded byEdmond Canaple
Succeeded byAlphonse Esquiros
Member of the Académie française
In office
12 February 1852 – 29 November 1868
Preceded byAlexis Guignard de Saint-Priest
Succeeded byFrançois-Joseph de Champagny
Member of the Chamber of Deputies/National Assembly
for Bouches-du-Rhône
In office
22 June 1834 – 2 December 1851
Preceded byFélix de Beaujour
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
for Haute-Loire
In office
25 November 1817 – 21 June 1834
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byJean-François Calemard de Lafayette
ConstituencyPierre Augustin Cuocq
Personal details
Born(1790-01-04)4 January 1790
Paris, France
Died29 November 1868(1868-11-29) (aged 78)
Augerville-la-Rivière, Loiret, French Empire
Political partyUltra-royalist (1817–1830)
Legitimist (1830–48; 1863–69)
Party of Order (1848–1851)
Caroline Gauthier
(m. 1811; died 1842)
ChildrenPierre Clémenent
EducationCollege of Juilly
Alma materUniversity of Paris

Pierre-Antoine Berryer (4 January 1790 – 29 November 1868) was a French advocate and parliamentary orator. He was the twelfth member elected to occupy Seat Four of the Académie française in 1852.


Early years[edit]

Berryer was born in Paris, the son of an eminent advocate and counsellor to the parlement. He was educated at the Collège de Juilly. Upon leaving he adopted the law profession. He was admitted advocate in 1811. He married in that same year. In the great conflict of the period between Napoleon I and the Bourbons, Berryer, like his father, was an ardent Legitimist. In the spring of 1815, at the opening of the campaign of the Hundred Days, he followed Louis XVIII of France to Ghent as a volunteer.[1]


An older Berryer.

After the second restoration he distinguished himself as a courageous advocate of moderation in the treatment of the military adherents of the emperor. He assisted his father and Dupin in the unsuccessful defence of Marshal Ney before the chamber of peers. He undertook the defence of General Cambronne and General Debelle, procuring the acquittal of the former and the pardon of the latter. By this time he had a very large business as advocate, and was engaged on behalf of journalists in many press prosecutions.[1]

Berryer stood forward with a noble resolution to maintain the freedom of the press, and he severely censured the rigorous measures of the police department. In 1830, not long before the fall of Charles X, Berryer was elected to the chamber of deputies. He appeared there as the champion of the king and encouraged him in his reactionary policy. After the revolution of July, when the Legitimists withdrew in a body, Berryer alone retained his seat as deputy. He unsuccessfully resisted the abolition of the hereditary peerage. He advocated trial by jury in press prosecutions, the extension of municipal franchises, and other liberal measures.[1]

In May 1832, he hastened from Paris to see the Duchess of Berry on her landing in the south of France. Her purpose was to organize an insurrection in favour of her son, the Duke of Bordeaux, who has since become known as the Comte de Chambord. Berryer attempted to turn her from her purpose. Failing to do, he set out for Switzerland. But he was arrested, imprisoned, and brought to trial as one of the insurgents. He was immediately acquitted. In the following year he pleaded for the liberation of the duchess, made a memorable speech in defence of François-René de Chateaubriand, who was prosecuted for his violent attacks on the government of Louis-Philippe of France, and undertook the defence of several Legitimist journalists.[1]

Among the more noteworthy events of his subsequent career were his defence of Louis Napoleon after the ridiculous affair of Boulogne in 1840, and a visit to England in December 1843 for the purpose of formally acknowledging the pretender Henri, comte de Chambord who was then living in London as "Henry V" and lawful king of France. Berryer was an active member of the National Assembly convoked after the revolution of February 1848. He again visited the pretender, then at Wiesbaden, and fought in the old cause. His long parliamentary career came to an end with a courageous protest against the coup d'état of 2 December 1851.[1]

After a lapse of twelve years, however, he appeared once more in his forsaken field as a deputy to the Corps Législatif. Berryer was elected as a member of the Académie française in 1854. On his visit to Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux in 1865, a banquet was given in his honour by the benchers of the Temple and of Lincoln's Inn. In November 1868, he left Paris of his own volition to retire to his country seat at Augerville, and there he died on 29 November.[1]



  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Berryer, Antoine Pierre". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 809–810.