Grégoire, Henri (äNrēˈ grāgwärˈ) [key], 1750–1831, French priest, writer, and revolutionist. A Jansenist (see under Jansen, Cornelis), he was prominent in the States-General of 1789 and supported the union of the lower clergy with the third estate. He fought clerical and noble privilege and proposed abolition of the law of primogeniture. Grégoire took the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (even though it was condemned by the pope) and became constitutional bishop of Blois in 1791. He maintained his religious beliefs throughout the Terror and fought for religious freedom under the Directory. As a senator under the Consulate, he opposed the Concordat of 1801 and, resigning his see, became a simple priest. Although he opposed the empire, Napoleon I made him a count. In 1819 he was elected to the chamber of deputies but, as a radical and a dissident priest, was refused his seat. Grégoire died in poverty; his burial was the scene of a great liberal demonstration. His writings, some of which have been translated, deal chiefly with Jansenism, racial equality, and international cooperation.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.