Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/759

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742

MACMAHON.

the Prussians at two points, and their left and centre broken, not- withstanding a desperate charge of cavalry which was ordered by MacMahon as a last resort. Mac- Mahon retired on the following day to Saveme, next to Toul (13th), Bheims (21st), and Bethel (22nd). On the 30th his forces were again defeated by the Prussians, being driven back from Beaumont beyond the Meuse, near Mouzon. He was chief in command at the battle of Sedan (Sept. 1), but received a severe wound in the thigh at the commencement of the engagement, whereupon the command devolved on General Wimpffen, who signed the capitulation. MacMahon was made a prisoner of war, and con- veyed into Germany. Having re- covered from his wound, he left Wiesbaden for France, March 13, 1871, and was nominated in the following month Commander-in- Chief of the Army at Versailles. He successfully conducted the siege of Paris against the Commune, and ably assisted M. Thiers in re- organizing the Army. . In Dec., 1871, he was re<juested by the Parisian Press Union to become a candidate to represent Paris in the National Assembly, but he refused to accept the nomination. On M. Thiers resigning the Presidency of the BepubSc, May 24, 1873, he was elected to the vacant office by the Assembly. Of the 392 members who voted 390 voted for Marshal MacMahon, who immediately after- wards accepted the Headship of the Executive, his consent being carried back to the Assembly, couched in a letter which was a model of manly straightforwardness and modesty. " A heavy responsi- bility," he wrote, *' is thrust upon my patriotism, but, with the aid of God, the devotion of the army, which will always be the army of the law, and the support of all honest men, we will continue to- gether the work of liberating the territory, and restoring moral order

throughout the country; we will maintain internal pes^ce and the principles on which society is based. That this shall be done I pledge my word as an honest man and a soldier." He at once proceeded to form a Conservative administration, his Ministers being the Due de Broglie, Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the Council ; M. Emoul, Justice ; M. Beul^, Interior ; M. Magne, Finance ; General de Cissey (who remained par interim). War; Vice- Admiral Dompierre d'Homoy, Marine and Colonies; M. Batbie, Public In- struction, Public Worship, and Fine Arts ; M. Desseilligny, Public Works ; and M. de la Bouillerie, Agriculture and Commerce. 'Hie Septennate was voted Nov. 19, 1873, when the National Assembly, by 378 votes against 310, entrusted him with the exercise of power for seven years. On May 16, 1877, Marshal MacMahon addressed to M. Jules Simon, the President of the Council, a letter reproaching the Premier with incapacity. This compelled the latter to resign and a new ministry was formed. The Due de Broglie became President of the Council, M. de Fourtou, Minister of the Interior, the Due Decazes remained at the Foreign Office, and General Berthaut re- tained his post as Minister of War. The Chamber of Deputies was imme- diately prorogued, and the Senate, by a small majority, resolved to exercise the power conferred by the Constitution, by concurring with the President of the BepubBc in a dissolution. Accordingly, the Mar- shal dissolved the Chamber of De- puties by a decree dated June 25, 1877. The elections for the new Chamber were held throughout France on October 14, resulting in the return of 335 Bepublicans and 198 Anti-Bepublicans, the latter classed as 89 Bonapartists, 41 Legi- timists, 38 Orleanists, and 80 <'Mac Mahonists." The Bepublican ma- jority refused to vote the supplies.