Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Audiffret-Pasquier, Edme Armand Gaston, Duc d'

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AUDIFFRET-PASQUIER, Edme Armand Gaston, Duc d', a French politician, born in 1818. His father, the Comte d'Audiffret, under the Restoration, was Director of Customs, Director of the National Debt, Councillor of State, and afterwards Receiver-General. His uncle, the Marquis d'Audiffret, was a Peer of France and President of the Cour des Comptes. The name of d'Audiffret is that of an old family of Dauphiné, and their armorial bearings were to be seen in the Crusades. The Comte d'Audiffret, father of the present Duke, married the daughter of M. Pasquier, Director-General of the Tobacco Manufactories, and brother of the Chancellor Pasquier. It is from the latter, who died without issue, and who had adopted him in 1844, that the subject of this memoir derives his ducal title. In 1845 young d'Audiffret, scarcely 22 years old, entered the Council of State as Auditor, and married Mademoiselle Fontenilliat, daughter of the Receiver-General of the Gironde. At this time he aspired to a brilliant success in the career which the Council of State offered, and for which his previous studies, the traditions of his family, and his position in society well fitted him and could lead him to the highest position in the State. But bitter griefs were in store for him to crush his hopes. First there was the Revolution of 1848, and then successive family afflictions deprived him of his children and induced him to wish for a retired life. Shortly afterwards M. d'Audiffret went to live in Normandy on an estate which belonged to him. Here he passed 20 years of his life, occupied with agriculture and with political studies, in the midst of his books, the old library of the d'Audiffret family being one of the most complete literary collections which any individual could possess. Sometimes he abandoned his pursuits to engage in electoral struggles with the will of a man who feels he is an orator and who wishes to serve his country on the broadest stage. Thus in 1858 he presented himself for election to the Council-General, and in 1866 and 1869 to the Corps Législatif. On every occasion the battle was stoutly contested. Victorious the first time, the candidate was beaten on the two other occasions by the efforts of official pressure. After the fall of the Empire he was elected to the National Assembly in the Conservative interest by the Department of the Orne (Feb. 8, 1871). He voted with the Right Centre. He was nominated president of the commission on purchases, and in this capacity acquired sudden renown by the masterly way in which he encountered in debate M. Rouher, the champion of the fallen dynasty. By his eloquence he soon acquired a great and strong position in the Assembly. He was one of the principal originators of the downfall of M. Thiers, but he had assumed an attitude which would not permit of his being included in a Ministry of which Bonapartists were members. After the check given to the proposed Monarchical Restoration, the Duke, as President of the Right Centre, was among those who supported the Septennate, and who powerfully contributed, in conjunction with his brother-in-law, M. Casimir Périer, to the solution of Feb. 25, 1875. He had always distinguished between the Republic and Radicalism, and from the moment when he saw himself condemned to renounce that Constitutional Monarchy which had been the hope and dream of his life, he preferred the Republic. On the formation of the Buffet Ministry, he was elected President of the National Assembly. On Dec. 9, 1875, the Duc d'Audiffret-Pasquier who, a few days previously, had joined the Left Centre, was the first person elected a Life Senator by the Assembly, by a majority amounting to four-fifths of all the votes recorded. In the sitting of March 13, 1876, he was elected President of the Senate. He continued to hold that office till Jan. 1879, after the Senatorial elections, which gave the Republicans a majority in the Upper Chamber. On Dec. 26, 1878, he was elected to the seat in the French Academy lately filled by Mgr. Dupanloup. Of the 27 members present 22 voted for him, and 5 abstained from voting.