1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Palikao, Charles Guillaume Marie Appollinaire Antoine Cousin Montauban, Comte de

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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 20
Palikao, Charles Guillaume Marie Appollinaire Antoine Cousin Montauban, Comte de

PALIKAO, CHARLES GUILLAUME MARIE APPOLLINAIRE ANTOINE COUSIN MONTAUBAN, Comte de (1796-1878), French general and statesman, was born in Paris on the 24th of June 1796. As a cavalry officer young Montauban saw much service in Algeria, but he was still only a colonel when in 1847 he effected the capture of Abd-el-Kader. After rising to the rank of general of division and commanding the province of Constantine, he was appointed in 1858 to a command at home, and at the close of 1859 was selected to lead the French troops in the joint French and British expedition to China. His conduct of the operations did not escape criticism, but in 1862 he received from Napoleon III. the title of comte de Palikao (from the action of that name); he had already been made a senator. The allegation that he had acquired a vast fortune by the plunder of the Pekin summer palace seems to have been without foundation. In 1865 he was appointed to the command of the IV. army corps at Lyons, in the training of which he displayed exceptional energy and administrative capacity. In 1870 he was not given a command in the field, but after the opening disasters had shaken the Ollivier ministry he was entrusted by the empress-regent with the portfolio of war, and became president of the council (Aug. 10). He at once, with great success, reorganized the military resources of the nation. He claimed to have raised Marshal MacMahon's force at Châlons to 140,000 men, to have created three new army corps, 33 new regiments and 100,000 gardes mobiles, and to have brought the defences of the capital to a state of efficiency—all this in twenty-four days. He conceived the idea of sending the army of Châlons to raise the blockade of Metz. The scheme depended on a precision and rapidity of which the army of Châlons was no longer capable, and ended with the disaster of Sedan. After the capitulation of the emperor the dictatorship was offered to Palikao, but he refused to desert the empire, and proposed to establish a council of national defence, with himself as “lieutenant-general of government.” Before a decision was made, the chamber was invaded by the mob, and Palikao fled to Belgium. In 1871 he appeared before the parliamentary commission of inquiry, and in the same year established Un Ministère de la guerre de vingt-quatre jours. He died at Versailles on the 8th of January 1878.