Ferry - 19th Century Encyclopedia Entries



Meyer 1885-1892, Nordisk Familjebok 1904-1926


Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, Article : Ferry
Ferry, Jules, French politician, born on April 5th 1832 in St. Die (Vogesen), in 1851 became advocate at the barreau of Paris, in 1865 joined the editing council of "Temps", and published articles in this magazine which stood out because of sharpness and frankness, against the poor municipal administration of Paris, which he as a collection published in 1865 under the title "Comptes fantastiques d'Haussmann". In 1869 elected into the Legislative Body, here he belonged to the most energetic members of the opposition and demanded the dissolution of the assembly, as it had been elected under the pressure of public candidacy, and thus no longer represented the majority of the country. On September 4th 1870 he joined the Government of National Defense, on September 5th secretary of the latter, on September 6th prefect of the departement of the Seine. During the Social Democratic rebellion of October 31st he was taken prisoner, but liberated by the National Guard, and on November 15th in place of the resigning Arago appointed Maire [mayor] of Paris. In February 1871 he was elected member of the National Asembly, and after the suppression of the Commune Rebellion on May 24th by Thiers appointed prefect of the Departement of the Seine, but after 10 days he resigned. In May 1872 appointed ambassador in Athens, already in 1873 after the resignation of Thiers he resigned. Since, in the National Assembly and since 1876 in the Chamber of Deputees he belonged to the leaders of the Republican Left, and on February 4th 1879 in the cabinet Waddington he took over the potfolio of education. He skillfully administrated the latter and introduced important reforms. His most important, but also most energy-consuming accomplishment was pushing through anti-clerical education laws (1880), for the purpose of which he held on to his office even after Waddington's resignation. Wjen Freycinet resigned, on September 24th 1880 Ferry took the leadership in the cabinet. In November 1881 he gave up his position as cabinet leader in favour of Gambetta; in the cabinet Freycinet on January 30th 1882 he again took the portfolio of education and, after Freycinet had been toppled in July 1882 and Duclerc in January 1883, on February 21st 1883 formed a new opportunist cabinet, in which he first was in charge of education, later of foreign affairs. While Ferry in domestic policy strove to strengthen the republic, and with this object in mind implemented the constitutional reforms desired by the Opportunists and Radicals, as well as election by lists, in foreign policy he restored amiable relations with Germany, with which he agreed on safeguarding European interests in Egypt and West Africa, and utilised all of France's energies in Indochina to force Annam and Tonkin into submission. In 1884 he even started a war with China, which had no quick and decisive successes to show. He already had brought about an overall favorable peace, when because of misfortune which had befallen the French troops in Tonkin, suddenly rising excitement in public opinion and in the Chamber on March 30th 1885 caused his fall.
source in German, posted by Retro Bibliothek

Nordisk Familjebok 1904-1926, Article : Ferry (1908)
Ferry, Jules, French statesman, born on April 5th 1832 in St. Die (Dept. Vosges), died on March 17th 1893 in Paris, in 1851 became advocate in Paris, and in addition to his practise as a lawyer he devoted his time to writing political articles in liberal newspapers, especially in "Le Temps". In the elections of the 1860s he vividly participated on the side of the opposition, and attracted great attention by a number of sharp articles against the arbitrary polict of the Prefect of the Seine Departement, Baron Haussmann (Complex fantastiques Haussmann, 1868). He was elected by Paris into the Legislative Body in 1869 and soon joined the left, among the best speakers of which he soon was counted. At the fall of the Empire on September 4th 1870 he became member of the National Assembly and was placed in charge of the administration of the Departement of the Seine, as well as, on November 16th, the position of mayor of Paris. In February 1871 he was elected into the National Assembly. As mayor of Paris he lead the administration of Paris while dealing with immense difficulties throughout the entire siege period. Especially he showed coldbloodedness and resoluteness during the attempts of the revolutionaries to make themselves masters of the city. At the beginning of the Communard Rebellion on March 18th 1871 Ferry wanted to defend city hall to the last, and he only fled when the troops despite of his energetic demands withdrew from the city and thus left it to the revolutionaries. From 1872 to 1873 he was French ambassador in Athens, since in the National Assembly as a leader of the left center he fought the quickly growing reaction, and in 1876 was chosen to represent his hometown St. Die in the newly formed Chamber of Deputees. Reelected after the dissolution of the chamber in 1877, he stood in the first line of the opponents of Mac Mahon's personal "policy of May 16th" and became, after the marshal had been forced to resign and was succeeded by Grevy (January 30th 1879), became minister of education in the cabinet formed by Waddington, a post which he with short interruptions held in several cabinets until 1883. Ferry in these years thoroughly reformed the French education system, by a number of important laws. The central authority (Conseil superieure de l'instruction publique), where a number of priests, lawyers and high officials used to have seats, was transformed into an assembly composed of teachers themselves, of universities and learned corporations (February 1880). Further he abolished all schools run by congregations not recognized by the state (spiritual orders). The proposal hereto - the infamous "article 7" in the law concerning the freedom of education, was accepted by the Chamber of Deputees after heated debates (July 9th 1879) but failed in the Senate because of the strong resistance by the clerical party (March 15th 1880). Then Ferry issued two decrees (March 29th) which forced the closure of the schools run by the Jesuits, and by the other orders not recognized by the state, he revitalized a number of old laws, in part from the 18th century, which never had been abolished and which forbade their existence in France. Despite strong protest the decree was implemented that summer. Simultaneous with these measures - which personally brought Ferry intense hatred from the side of the clericals, which made his future political career much more difficult - proceeded the reorganization of education at the lower and medium level. By the establishment of a number of new seminaries (August 1879) a well-educated pool of teachers for the nation's primary schools was raised. The demands for competences of teachers both at state schools and private schools were increased considerably, and simultaneously education in state-run primary schools was made free of charge (June 1881). By the law of March 28th 1882 education at the primary level was made mandatory. The same law banned education in religion from state schools; its place was to be taken by "ethical and citizenship instruction". Among the reforms affecting the secondary schools, state support of higher schools for girls (law of December 21st 1880) deserves being mentioned. This entire reform work was implemented in a constant struggle with the right in the Chamber of Deputees, and mainly in the Senate. Opponents accused Ferry as being hostile to religion, but in the same area the anti-Clericals in their education reforms, as Rambaud has shown, were purely political , and by nature very different from the radical policy against the congregations and the Catholic church, based on atheist ideas, which since has become official policy.
Ferry in December 1879 moved from Waddington's cabinet into the cabinet reconstructed by Freycinet, and after the latter's fall, while holding on to his portfolio, himself became Council President (September 23rd 1880), but despite the favorable turn-out of the election of 1881, on November 10th that year had to give way to Gambetta. When the latter's "grand cabinet" fell after a few months, Ferry on January 30th 1882 joined Freycinet's cabinet as minister of education, resigned together with the latter (August 7th that year) and became, as Duclerc's and Fallieres' cabinets were toppled by each other, on February 21nd 1883 for the second time he became council president with the task of forming a moderate cabinet capable of governing. He exchanged his old portfolio on November 20th that year for the ministry of foreign affairs. The period of Ferry as cabinet leader was much taken up by parlamentary conflicts over the revision of the constitution (see France, history of), but his lasting contribution was the French colonial empire, "the four pillars of which, with a sharp view into the future, he determined to be Tunisia, Tonkin, Congo and Madagascar" (Hanotaux). See furter France, colonial history, and French Indo-China. The treaty which laid the foundation for a French protectorate over Tunisia was concluded already in May 1881. Ferry in 1884 cooperated with Bismarck for the establishment of the Congo Free State at the Berlin Conferenceand on February 5th 1885 concluded a treaty with the new state, which determined its border to French Congo. He energetically maintained the French claim on Madagascar, in the beginning of 1885 he had Diego Suarez occupied, and he dispatched the expeditions, which resulted in the conclusion of the Treaty of Tamatave (December 17th that year), which confirmed France's influence on that island. The conflict which had broken out earlier with Annam, during Ferry's cabinet, lead after a bloody conflict to a protectorate enforced over the latter on June 6th 1884, preceded by a treaty concluded in Tianjin with China on May 11th that year. Disputes in regard to the implementation of this treaty in June that year resulted in clashes between French and Chinese troops, and these developed into a wider, in France highly unpopular war. Exaggerated reports of an occasional French defeat at Langson (March 28th 1885) stirred up a wave of protest in the Chamber of Deputees, which resulted in a crushing vote of no confidence in the government (March 30th), and those most radical wanted to see him accused. The day after the toppled Ferry received the telegram informing him, that the secret negotiations with the Chinese government held with the mediation of Sir Robert Hart (see there) opened in January that year had made good progress, and on April 4th in Beijing a preliminary peace advantageous for France was concluded; too late to save Ferry's cabinet, the fall of which marks the bein of a period of parliamentary weakness, and which for a number of years restrained the development of France's colonial empire.
Despite his extraordinary unpopularity - his nickname was "Tonkinese", which he himself took as a name of honour, and he was accused of treacherously giving in to Bismarck - Ferry in the following years was influential in party life by rallying moderate Republicans around himself, and in a number of political speeches he warned of the danger which threatened the republic from the side of General Boulanger (see there) and of his motley supporters. On the occasion of President Grevy's forced resignation, Ferry became the candicate of the moderate Republicans, but the Boulangerists threatened with rebellion, if he were elected, and after the first round of the election, when only 212 out of 885 electors under that threat rejected to vote for him, he voluntarily gave way to the compromise candidate Sadi-Carnot, proposed by Clemenceau in the last moment (December 3rd 1887). The new elections to the Chamber of Deputees in 1889, not to the least an accomplishment of Ferry, produced a crushing defeat of the Boulangerists, but he himself fell through in his old electoral district, withdrew from parlamentary life and worked on a publication defending his colonial policy under the title "Tonkin et la mere-patrie" (1890). Rehabilitation came when Ferry in February that year was elected into the Senate for the Vosges, and most of all, when he was elected president of the Senate on February 24th 1893. A few weeks later Ferry died of a heart illness, which is believed to have been caused by the attack to which he was exposed in 1887 among the many abuses he suffered in that time. In energetic patriotism and parliamentary skill, Ferry in the Third Republic had few of his kind, and he was perhaps, at least after Gambetta's death, the country's greatest statesman. Monuments to him have been set up in St. Die, Tunis and Haiphong, and a collection is being made for the establishment of a national monument to him. Ch. Robiquet has edited "Discours et opinions de Jules Ferry" (7 vols. 1893-1898). See Rambaud's excellent biographic study "Jules Ferry" (1903) and A. Billot, "Jules Ferry. Son oeuvre coloniale et diplomatique" (1904)

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg





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First posted on June 13th 2009

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