Constant de Rebecque, Benjamin

BORN 23 Oct 1767, Lausanne, Vaud - DIED 17 Dec 1830, Paris
BIRTH NAME Rebecque, Benjamin Constant de
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 29, ligne 01, S, 31)

Benjamin Constant was educated privately and at the University of Erlangen. Between 1780 and 1785 he lived in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland and England. From 1788 until 1794 he was employed at the court of Brunswick. In 1789 he married Minna von Cramm, but after he met Charlotte de Hardenberg in 1793 he seperated from Minna.

In 1794 he met Germaine de Staël in Lausanne. They conducted an affair for sixteen years and corraborated intellectually. In 1800 he developed a passion for Anna Lindsay, but their liaison ended in 1801. In 1803 he considered marrying Amélie Fabri, but in the same year he travelled to Germany with Germaine. In 1804 he met Goethe and Schiller and in the same year Germaine refused to marry him. His passion for Anna Lindsay returned and at the same time he thought of marrying Charlotte de Hardenberg. In 1805 his close friend Julie Talma died and after quarrels with Germaine in 1807 he married Charlotte secretly in 1808. In 1811 he finally said goodbye to Germaine.

After the fall of Napoleon in 1814 he returned to Paris and wrote violent articles against the emperor. When Napoleon returned they had a talk and he entered into the service of the emperor. Constant was instrumental in the drafting of the "Acte Additional" that was to transform Napoleon's empire into a constitutional monarchy. Constant adapted the constitution that had been accepted by Louis XVIII and modified it. Napoleon accepted in on 24 Apr 1815 as an addition to the existing laws. In a plebiscite it was approved and on 1 Jun 1815 it became formal law.

A few weeks after Napoleon's second abdication he went to London, where he published his novel "Adolphe". He was holding on to his liberal views and in September 1816 he returned to Paris with Charlotte after he had apologized to Louis XVIII. He worked as a journalist until his death in 1830 and was deputy for Sarthe (1819-1822) and Strassbourg (1827-1830).

Related persons
• was a friend of Bagration, Catharina
• met Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
• worked for Napoleon I Bonaparte
• was a friend of Récamier, Juliette
• met Schiller, Friedrich von
• met Shelley, Mary
• was a friend of Sismondi, Jean Charles Léonard de

8/4/1816Lord Byron meets Benjamin Constant. It was at a party given by Lady Jersey. Augusta Leigh and John Hobhouse were present as well. Some of the guests avoided Byron, but Lady Jersey and Mercer Elphinstone were very kind to him. [Byron, Augusta Mary][Byron, George Noel Gordon ][Hobhouse, John Cam, Lord Broughton]


The grave of Benjamin Constant at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (24 Oct 2014)


• Winegarten, Renee, Germaine de Staël & Benjamin Constant, A Dual Biography, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2008
Wikipedia (EN):

Conta, Isolde von

Published: 11 May 2008
Last update: 25 Apr 2022