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 tht 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 i 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 didn't 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 into 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
• 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 Nov 2023