At Berulle's instance he became curate of Clichy near Paris (1611); but this charge he soon exchanged for the post of tutor to the count of Joigny at Folleville, in the diocese of Amiens, where his success in dealing with the spiritual needs of the peasants led to the "missions" with which his name is associated.
Time was on the side of the moderates; they succeeded in placing General Pichegru, already known for his tendencies towards constitutional monarchy, in the presidential chair of the Council of Five Hundred; and they proceeded to agitate, chiefly through the medium of a powerful club founded at Clichy, for the repeal of the revolutionary and persecuting laws.
In Paris he was arrested on the suit of a sculptor, whose statue had been injured in the New York World's Fair (of which he had been a director), and spent two days in Clichy, of which he gave an amusing account.
He was one of the promoters of the constitutional club of Salm, formed to counterbalance the royalist club of Clichy, and he supported Barras in 1797 and 17 9 9 in the coups d'etat of 18 Fructidor, and of 18 Brumaire.
The duke of the Basques came to his court to swear fidelity, and at his villa at Clichy the chief of the Bretons of Domnone promised obedience.
He was present at the battle of Leipzig, and accompanied the invading army to Paris; he negotiated the capitulation of Marmont and Mortier at Clichy, and signed the treaty of Chaumont on the 1st of March 1814.