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Jules Claude Gabriel Favre


FAVRE, JULES CLAUDE GABRIEL French statesman, was born at Lyons on March 21, 1809, and was an advocate by profession. From the time of the revolution of 183o he declared himself a republican. After the revolution of 1848 he was deputy for Lyons to the constituent assembly. On the 2nd of December 1851 he tried with Victor Hugo and others to organize an armed resistance to Louis Napoleon in the streets of Paris. After the coup d'etat he withdrew from politics, re sumed his profession, and distinguished himself by his defence of Felice Orsini, the perpetrator of the attack against the life of Napoleon III. In 1858 he was elected deputy for Paris, and was one of the "five" who gave the signal for the republican opposition to the empire. In 1863 he became the head of his party, and delivered a number of addresses denouncing the Mexi can expedition and the occupation of Rome. These addresses, eloquent, clear and incisive, won him a seat in the French Academy in 1867. With Thiers he opposed the declaration of war against Prussia in 187o, and at the news of the defeat of Napoleon III. at Sedan he demanded from the legislative assembly the deposi tion of the emperor. In the government of national defence he became vice-president under General Trochu, and minister of foreign affairs, with the onerous task of negotiating peace with victorious Germany. He proved to be less adroit as a diplomat than he had been as an orator, and committed several irreparable blunders. His statement on Sept. 6, 187o, that he "would not yield to Germany an inch of territory nor a single stone of the fortresses" was a piece of oratory which Bismarck met on the 19th by his declaration to Favre that the cession of Alsace and of Lorraine was the indispensable condition of peace. He arranged for the armistice of June 28, 1871, without knowing the situation of the armies, and without consulting the government at Bordeaux. He neglected to inform Gambetta that the army of the East (8o,000 men) was not included in the armistice, and it was thus obliged to retreat to neutral territory. Favre withdrew from the ministry, discredited, on Aug. 2, 1871, but remained in the chamber of deputies. Elected senator on Jan. 3o, 1876, he continued to support the government of the republic against the reactionary opposition, until his death on Jan. 20, 1880.

His works include many speeches and addresses, notably La Liberte de la Presse (1849), Defense de F. Orsini (1866), Discours de reception a l'Academie f rancaise (1868), Discours sur la liberte interieure (1869) . In Le Gouvernement de la Defense Nationale, 3 vols., 1871-1875, he explained his role in 187o-1871. After his death his family published his speeches in 8 volumes.

See G. Hanotaux, Histoire de la France contemporaine (1903, etc.) ; also E. Benoit Levy, Jules Favre (1884) .

government, addresses, napoleon and revolution