CATHELINEAU, JACQUES (1759–1793), French Vendean chieftain during the Revolution, was born at Tin-en-Manges, in the country now forming the department of Maine-et-Loire. He became well known in the country of Anjou, over which he travelled as a pedlar and dealer in contraband goods. His physical strength and his great piety gave him considerable ascendancy over the peasants, who surnamed him “the saint of Anjou.” In the first years of the Revolution, Cathelineau listened to the exhortations of Catholic priests and royalist émigrés, and joined the insurrection provoked by them against the revolutionary government. Collecting a band of peasants and smugglers, he took the château of Gallais, where he captured a cannon, christened by the Vendeans the “Missionary”; he then took the towns of Chemillé, Cholet, Vihiers and Chalonnes (March 1793). His companions committed atrocities which brought upon them terrible reprisals on the part of Meanwhile Cathelineau’s troops increased, and he combined with the other Vendean chiefs, such as N. Stofflet and Gigot d’Elbée, taking the towns of Beaupréau, Fontenay and Saumur. The first successes of the Vendeans were due to the fact that the Republicans had not expected an insurrection. When the resistance to the insurgents became more serious, differences arose among their leaders. To avoid these rivalries, it is thought that Cathelineau was named generalissimo of the rebels, though his authority over the undisciplined troops was not increased by the new office. In 1793 all the Royalist forces tried to capture Nantes. Cathelineau entered the town in spite of the resistance of General J.B.C. Canclaux, but he was killed, and the Vendean army broke up. Numerous relatives of Cathelineau also perished in the war of La Vendée. His grandson, Henri de Cathelineau, figured in the war of 1870 between France and Germany (see also Vendée; Chouans).
See C. Port, Vie de J. Cathelineau (1882); “La Légende de Cathelineau” in the review La Révolution française, vol. xxiv.; Les Origines de la Vendée (Paris, 1888, 2 vols.); Dictionnaire historique de Maine-et-Loire; Cretineau-Joly, Histoire de la Vendée militaire; Th. Muret, Vie populaire de Cathelineau (1845). (R. A.*)