Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Arago, Etienne

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ARAGO, Etienne, journalist, brother of the late celebrated astronomer, was born at Perpignan, Feb. 9, 1802, studied at the College of Sorrèze, and held, during the Restoration, an appointment in the Polytechnic School, which he resigned to enter upon a literary career. He has written many vaudevilles and melodramas; and established two opposition journals, La Lorgnette and Le Figaro; the latter in conjunction with M. Maurice Alhoy. In 1829 he became director of the Theatre de Vaudeville, the doors of which he closed July 27, 1830, the day after the publication of the ordonnanees of Charles X.; thus being one of the first to give the signal for the Revolution of July. Afterwards, with a number of his friends, he took part in the insurrectionary movements of June and April, 1834; but it was his good fortune to be either unnoticed or forgotten, and he was not included among the accused who expiated their imprudence in St. Pelagie. After the Revolution of 1848 he opposed the policy of Louis Napoleon, and signed the act of accusation against the President and his ministers on the occasion of the siege of Rome. Having quitted France, he was in his absence condemned, in default, to transportation, by the High Court of Versailles, in 1849, and resided in England, Holland, Geneva, and Turin; at which latter place he occupied himself with literary studies and editing his "Souvenirs." While at the head of the Post-office, M. Arago introduced the cheap postal stamp system into France, and while in exile in Belgium, he organised a charitable society for poor emigrants. In 1859 he returned to France. At the time of the war with Germany he was Mayor of Paris, which office he resigned in Nov. 1870, when he was offered the post of Commissioner-General of the Paris Mint, but he declined to accept that sinecure. On Feb. 8, 1871, he was returned to the National Assembly for the department of the Pyrénées Orientales, but he resigned the seat on the plea of old age. At this period he was sent on an extraordinary mission to Italy, the object of which did not transpire. After this he withdrew from public life. He was appointed archivist to the École des Beaux Arts in 1878.