Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Arago, François Victor Emmanuel

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ARAGO, Francois Victor Emmanuel, a nephew of Etienne Arago, born at Paris, June 6, 1812. Adopting the profession of letters, he brought out a volume of poems and several farces; but at the age of twenty-five he renounced literature for the bar, and was admitted an advocate. He espoused the cause of the Republicans, and, in 1839, was engaged in the defence of Martin-Bernard and Barbès. In the events of February, 1848, he took an active part; and on the 24th of that month, forcing his way into the Chamber of Deputies, he protested against the Regency, and demanded the deposition of the Orleans family. Immediately afterwards he was sent, with the title of Commissary-General of the Republic, to Lyons, and became extremely unpopular, in consequence of his taking, from a fund of 500,000 francs intended for the National Bank of Lyons, the sum necessary for the support of the national workshops. This summary measure, however, saved the city, and M. Arago's conduct was formally approved by a vote of the Constituent Assembly in 1849. The department of the Pyrénées Orientales now elected him to the Assembly, but he rarely made his appearance there; and soon afterwards the Executive Commission sent him as Minister Plenipotentiary to Berlin, where he used his influence in favour of the Poles of the grand-duchy of Posen, and succeeded in procuring the liberation of General Mierolawski. On receipt of the news of the election of the 10th December, he sent in his resignation, and hastened to Paris. M. Arago, who ordinarily voted with the "Mountain" in the Legislative Assembly, protested energetically against the expedition to Rome. After the coup d'état of Dec. 2, 1852, he withdrew for some years from political life, but continued his practice at the bar. In 1869 he was returned to the Legislative Assembly for the 8th circonscription of the Seine. After the fall of the Empire in 1870, he took a prominent part in public affairs; and, on M. Crémieux being sent to Tours, just before the siege, to represent the Government of the National Defence, he succeeded that statesman at Paris as Minister of Justice. On Feb. 6, 1871. he was nominated Minister of the Interior, and, ad interim, Minister of War, in the place of M. Gambetta. Two days later he was returned to the National Assembly as one of the representatives of the Pyrénées Orientales; and on the 19th of the same month he resigned the office of Minister of the Interior, which was conferred on M. Ernest Picard. M. Arago was elected, in January, 1876, a senator for the department of the Pyrénées Orientales. His term of office expired in 1882.