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Luigi Pio


  1. Unknown ['La guerra degli dei'] translation translator


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From 1780, Luigi Pio was appointed secretary then chargé d’affaires to the Paris Embassy for the Kingdom of Naples (Ferdinand IV), where he met Franklin, Jefferson and other leading figures. Depatches reveal his complaints at being sufficiently rewarded for his role, spending double his monthly salary of 300 livres. By the end of 1789 he had racked up debts of over 60,000 livres.

An active participant from the beginning of the French Revolution, he denounced his ambassador Circello for intriguing with aristocrats and was forced to resign his position. A member of various political clubs, he was granted French citizenship by the Paris Assembly in March 1790. He then obtained a series of posts, working for the passport bureau, as "commissaire pour les papiers des émigrés", in the Foreign Affairs Ministry (to spy upon Lebrun whom he later denounced) and, finally, as a commis in the Hébertiste Bureau de Guerre. In March 1794, he was arrested and imprisoned, along with other members of the Hébertist faction, but managed to escape the guillotine. After his release, he stayed on in Paris, where he earned his living as a translator and teacher of Italian.

Pio was a committed revolutionary who contributed to several papers, including Mme de Kéralio's Mercure nationale, Camille Desmoulins' Révolutions de France et de Brabant, Proli's Le Cosmopolite and Jean-Paul Marat's Ami du peuple, where he wrote in praise of Robespierre's principled stand and made several denunciations of suspect revolutionaries, including the foreign minister, Lebrun, other refugee foreigners, such as the Belgian Proli and the Spaniard Pereira (Lebrun's former agents), and Saiffert, the duc d'Orléans' German doctor. He alienated his Girondin supporters in the press, when he supported Robespierre's campaign against the war. Bonneville went so far as to accuse him of being a spy in the pay of foreign courts and part of the Orléanist faction (Bulletin des Amis de la Vérité, Jan 1793).

Some of this activity is covered in Albert Mathiez, 'La Révolution et les étrangers' (1918), pp.104-107 & 176; and 'Le Chevalier Pio', in Annales Révolutionnaires, vol.11, no.1 (Jan-Feb 1919), pp.94–104, in which Mathiez cites an unpublished note on Pio written by Fabré d'Eglantine.