1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Faure, François Félix

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

FAURE, FRANÇOIS FÉLIX (1841–1899), President of the French Republic, was born in Paris on the 30th of January 1841, being the son of a small furniture maker. Having started as a tanner and merchant at Havre, he acquired considerable wealth, was elected to the National Assembly on the 21st of August 1881, and took his seat as a member of the Left, interesting himself chiefly in matters concerning economics, railways and the navy. In November 1882 he became under-secretary for the colonies in M. Ferry’s ministry, and retained the post till 1885. He held the same post in M. Tirard’s ministry in 1888, and in 1893 was made vice-president of the chamber. In 1894 he obtained cabinet rank as minister of marine in the administration of M. Dupuy. In the January following he was unexpectedly elected president of the Republic upon the resignation of M. Casimir-Périer. The principal cause of his elevation was the determination of the various sections of the moderate republican party to exclude M. Brisson, who had had a majority of votes on the first ballot, but had failed to obtain an absolute majority. To accomplish this end it was necessary to unite among themselves, and union could only be secured by the nomination of some one who offended nobody. M. Faure answered perfectly to this description. His fine presence and his tact on ceremonial occasions rendered the state some service when in 1896 he received the Tsar of Russia at Paris, and in 1897 returned his visit, after which meeting the momentous Franco-Russian alliance was publicly announced. The latter days of M. Faure’s presidency were embittered by the Dreyfus affair, which he was determined to regard as chose jugée. But at a critical moment in the proceedings his death occurred suddenly, from apoplexy, on the 16th of February 1899. With all his faults, and in spite of no slight amount of personal vanity, President Faure was a shrewd political observer and a good man of business. After his death, some alleged extracts from his private journals, dealing with French policy, were published in the Paris press.

See E. Maillard, Le Président F. Faure (Paris, 1897); P. Bluysen, Félix Faure intime (1898); and F. Martin-Ginouvier, F. Faure devant l’histoire (1895).