Sismondi, Jean Charles Léonard de

BORN 9 May 1773, Genève - DIED 25 Jun 1842, Chêne-Bougeries, Genève
BIRTH NAME Simonde, Jean Charles Léonard de
CAUSE OF DEATH stomach cancer
GRAVE LOCATION Chêne-Bougeries, Genève: Cimetiere de Chêne-Bougeries, Chemin du Pont-de-Ville

Sismondi came from a family that emigrated from France to Geneva after the edict of Nantes. His family wanted him to pursue a career in commerce and he became a clerk at a bank in Lyon. After the French Revolution broke out the family lived in England from 1793 to 1794. They returned to Geneva, but soon afterwards they bought a farm in Pescia, Toscana. He used his experiences there for his first book "Tableau de l'agriculture toscane" that he published in Geneva in 1801.

He was influenced by the writings of Adam Smith and published "De la richesse commerciale ou principes de l'economie politique appliqué à la legislation du commerce" in 1803. After he started work on his "Histoire des républiques italiennes du Moyen Âge" (1807-1818) he met Madame de Staël. He joined the Coppet group around her and travelled to Italy with her, but he did not like Wilhelm August Schlegel, who was also a member of the group. Around that time, he also met the Countess of Albany and a long-lasting platonic relationship with her followed.

In 1813 he moved to Paris, where he lived until the restoration. He met Napoleon I once. In 1818 he started a "Histoire des Français" that woud take him 23 years. In 1819 he married Jessie Allen (1777-1853) from Wales, a sister of Elizabeth Allen, the wife of Josiah Wedgwood II. In 1826 he was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences as a foreign member. In 1838 he supported the request from the French government to deport the Louis Napoleon Bonaparte from Switzerland. However, at the time he was a prisoner in Ham, Louis Napoleon asked for his help as a historian and Sismondi sent him a helpful letter. During the last years of his life, he lived in Geneva, and he died there in 1842.

Related persons
• was a friend of Constant de Rebecque, Benjamin
• met Napoleon I Bonaparte
• has a connection with Napoleon III Bonaparte
• was admired by Say, Jean-Baptiste
• detested Schlegel, August Wilhelm von


The grave of Jean Charles Leonard Sismondi at the Cimetiere de Chêne-Bougeries, Genève.
Picture by Androom (23 Aug 2019)


• Ridley, Jasper, Napoleon III and Eugénie, Constable, London, 1979
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Skarbek, Krystyna

Published: 15 Nov 2023
Last update: 15 May 2024