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Jean Sylvain Bailly
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    (September 15, 1736-November 12, 1793)
    Born in Paris, France
    Astronomer, mathematician and politician
    Computed the orbit of Halley's Comet (1759)
    Wrote 'A History of Ancient Astronomy' (1775) and 'A History of Modern Astronomy' (1782)
    During the French Revolution, became 1st President of the National Constituent Assembly (1789) and mayor of Paris (1789-91)
    As mayor of Paris, he tried to force the National Assembly to answer to him.
    In response to a petition to remove King Louis XVI from the throne, he declared martial law in Paris and sent out the National Guard under Lafayette to keep order (July 17, 1791).
    Later that day, the National Guard fired on a crowd that had refused to disperse, an event known as the Champ de Mars Massacre.
    He was later guillotined for his role in the massacre.
    As a member of the royal committee investigating Franz Anton Mesmer's claims of healing through animal magnetism, he wrote the report concluding that any effects on his patients were due to the power of suggestion.
    He wrote several elegies of sufficient literary merit to get him elected to the Academie Francaise (along with the more expected membership in the French Academy of Sciences).
    As a deputy in the National Assembly, he secured the passage of a decree allowing Jews to become citizens of France.
    At his execution, a heckler in the crowd shouted, 'Do you tremble, Bailly?' To which he replied, 'Only from the cold.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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