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Jean Henri Latude : "Masers de Latude"

Jean Henri Latude, often called Danry or Masers de Latude (23 March 17251 January 1805) was famous both as a prisoner of the Bastille and for his escapes therefrom.

He was born at Montagnac in Gascony. He received a military education and went to Paris in 1748 to study mathematics. He led a dissipated life and endeavoured to curry favor with the marquise de Pompadour by secretly sending her a box of poison and then informing her of the supposed plot against her life. The ruse was discovered, and Mme de Pompadour, not appreciating the humour of the situation, had Latude put in the Bastille on 1 May 1749.

He was later transferred to Vincennes, whence he escaped in 1750. Retaken and reimprisoned in the Bastille, he made a second brief escape in 1756. He was transferred to Vincennes in 1764, and the next year made a third escape and was a third time recaptured. He was put in a madhouse by Malesherbes in 1775, and discharged in 1777 on condition that he should retire to his native town.

He remained in Paris and was again imprisoned. A certain Mme Legros became interested in him through chance reading of one of his memoirs, and, by a vigorous agitation in his behalf, secured his definite release in 1784. He exploited his long captivity with considerable ability, posing as a brave officer, a son of the marquis de la Tude, and a victim of Pompadour's intrigues. He was extolled and pensioned during the Revolution, and in 1793 the convention compelled the heirs of Mme de Pompadour to pay him 60,000 francs damages. He died in obscurity at Paris in 1805.

The principal work of Latude is the account of his imprisonment, written in collaboration with an advocate named Thiry, and entitled "Le Despotisme dévoilé, ou Mémoires de Henri Masers de la Tude, détenu pendant trente-cinq ans dans les diverses prisons d'état" (Amsterdam, 1787, ed. Paris, 1889). An English translation of a portion was published in 1787. The work is full of lies and misrepresentations, but had great vogue at the time of the French Revolution. Latude also wrote essays on all sorts of subjects.

Jean-Henri Masers de Latude (1725-1805), ou, Le fou de la liberte: Enquete historique et psychologique (French Edition)
Jean-Henri Chevalier de Latude, 1789 Giclee Poster Print by Antoine Vestier, 18x24
Der Enthüllte Despotismus Der Französischen Regierung, Oder, Merkwürdige Geschichte Des Herrn Von Latüde: Während Seiner Unverdienten 35 Jährigen Gefangenschaft ... Staatsgefängnissen (German Edition)
The Life of Henri Masers De Latude, Who Was Imprisoned Thirty-five Years. To which is added some account of the Bastille.

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