Cavaignac - 19th Century Encyclopedia Entries



Nordisk Familjebok 1876-1899, Meyer 1885-1892


Nordisk Familjebok 1876-1899, Article : Cavaignac (1880)
Cavaignac, Louis Eugene, brother of the former [i.e. the person discussed in the article before], French dictator, born in Paris on October 15th 1802, studied at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and at the artillery school in Metz, and became lieutenant in 1824. As staff captain he participated in the French expedition to Morea in 1828. At the time of the Juli Revolution he was the first officer of his regiment who declared himself for the new order of things. In 1831 he fell out of favour with the government, as he participated in the expression of an opinion against their reactionary policy. He was dismissed from active service, but in the following year he was with the army in Algiers, which country for the following sixteen years became his field of activity, and the conquest of which he described in "De la regence d'Alger, note sur l'occupation" (1839). In Algeria, Cavaignac distinguished himself repeatedly, among others in the taking and defense of Tlemcen (1836) and Cherchel (1840), and in the skirmishes at Metidja and El Harbourg (1842). In several administrative functions he proved to be vigilant, prudent and as having a rare organizatorical talent. In 1841 he was promoted major of the Zouaves, in 1844 brigadeer general, in 1847 governor of Oran and in 1848, by the Provisional Government in Paris, division general and governor general of Algeria. The government shortly after offered him the ministry of war, an offer he then rejected. Since he arrived later that year in Paris as the representative of the Departement Lot in the National Assembly, he then took the post offered to him (May 17th). This happened under the most lamentable circumstances : two days before, the masses by the "the mutiny of May 15th" had struck fear and danger in the National Assembly and the friends of order. The mutual hatred between National Assembly and the Socialist-Communist ringleaders, who agitated among the mostly migrant groups of workers in the national factories, increased daily. Measures aiming at the closure of the national factories caused the beginning of clashes. On June 23rd 30,000 to 60,000 rebels were under arms (the figures vary); they were masters over almost the entire northeastern part of Paris and had erected barricades. A general fear arose. The government urged that Cavaignac quickly should take measures, but he did not move. Because he had only 20,000 troops of the line available, and he first wanted to collect a suitable force. After this had been done, he launched a combined attack from three directions. But progress was doubtful. In this critical situation, the National Assembly on June 24th granted him dictatorial authority, after which Cavaignac, with merciless energy, implemented his plan of operation. On the 26th he emerged victorious from a struggle which cost the lives of more Frenchmen than in the bloodiest battles of the First Empire. On the 28th he returned his authority into the hands of the government, but was unanimously elected, with the title of president of the council,. to be in charge of the executive power, until a president would have been elected. When this election took place on December 10th 1848, Cavaignac, against his own expectation and that of his friends, found himself in the minority : 5 1/2 million votes for Louis Napoleon, only 1,400,000 votes for Cavaignac. In the Legislative Body, where he again represented the Departement Lot, he took his seat among the opposition, and always showed moderation in his short, clear and warm-hearted addresses. During the coup d'etat of December 2nd 1851 he was arrested and brought to Ham, but set free shortly after. He married the daughter of rich banker Odier and since lived a reclusive life. In 1857 he was elected as representative of Paris' 3rd electoral district, but died suddenly on October 28th that year on one of his estates.
Cavaillac was not a statesman in strict sense, but he was a loyal soldier, honest in his republicanism and without a stain in his public and private life.

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg

Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, Article : Cavaignac
Cavaignac, Louis Eugene, French General, son of the former [i.e. the person discussed in the article before], born on October 15th 1802 in Paris, was educated in the Ecole Polytechnique for the corps of engineers, then served as underlieutenant, attended the Ecole Militaire Superieure in Metz. In 1827 he participated in the expedition to Greece and was promoted to captain. Because of his participation in Republican associations, the July government in 1832 sent him to Algeria, where he distinguished himself on the iccasion of the conquest of Tlemcen in 1836, that Marshal Clauzel left him behind as commander of 500 volunteers in this exposed position. Already then Cavaignac stood out because of his vigilance, patience, cold courage and an extraordinary talent for organization. After a brief retirement for health reasons he took over command of the 2nd battalion of the Light African Infantry, the so-called Zephyts, on March 15th 1840 with these he stormed Cherchel, and held on to this position against a superior force for 10 weeks, and despite being severely wounded he did not relinquish command, until May 2nd. As lieutenant major of the Zouaves, he distinguished himself in the expedition against Medea, at the crossing of Chaba el Ketta against the Beni Menad, and in front of Tagdempt. In 1841 appointed major of the Zouaves, he fought with great distinction on April 28th 1842 in the Mitidja and on September 15th at El Harbourg against the Beni Rachel, in 1844 he participated in the skirmish at Isly, became brigadeer general, and in 1847 governor of Oran. After the February Revolution on March 2nd 1848 he was appointed division general and governor general of Algeria. After the mutiny of May 15th against the National Assembly he took charge of the ministry of war. The National Assembly unanimously granted him military dictatorship, in order to suppress the rebellion of June 23rd. After he had suppressed the rebellion in a bloody struggle lasting 4 days, the National Assembly unanimously appointed him chef of the executive power, i.e. responsible head of the republic. He now restored order and calm in all of France and was the candidate of the Republicans in the presidential election of December 10th 1848, where he was defeated by Prince Napoleon, as he received only 1 1/2 million votes. Now he belonged to the Moderate Republicans in the Legislative Assembly. During the coup d'etat of December 2nd 1851 Napoleon III. had him arrested and brought to Ham, but then he was released and left France for some time. Elected into the Legislative Body by Paris, he refused the required oath. He died on October 28th 1857 on the estate of Ournes (Sarthe). He wrote "De la regence d'Alger, note sur l'occupation" (Paris 1839).
See : Deschamps, Eugene Cavaignac (Paris 1870, 2 vols.).

source in German, posted by Retro Bibliothek





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First posted on June 19th 2009

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