Abandoned religious life to study medicine in Paris. With Franklin and others, appointed to the commission named by Louis XVI to investigate mesmerism (1784).
Published Pétition des citoyens domicilés à Paris (1788).
Named a deputy of Paris during the French Revolution (1789). Publicly proclaimed reforms of the penal code and described the decapitation machine which would bear his name.
Retired from politics (1790). Imprisoned and liberated during the Terror.
Born in Saintes.