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Étienne-Denis Pasquier
Born 21 May 1767(1767-05-21)
Paris, France
Died 5 July 1862 (aged 95)
Paris, France
Occupation French statesman

Étienne-Denis, duc de Pasquier (21 April 1767 – 5 July 1862) was a French statesman. In 1842 he was elected a member of the Académie française, and in the same year was created a duke by the July Monarchy.

Contents

Biography

Born in Paris as the descendant of a family traditionally connected with the bar association and the parlements of France (which included Étienne Pasquier), he was destined for the legal profession and was educated at the Collège de Juilly. He then became a counsellor of the parlement of Paris, and witnessed many of the incidents that marked the growing hostility between that body and Louis XVI of France in the years preceding 1789 and the outbreak of the French Revolution.

His views were those of a moderate reformer, determined to preserve the House of Bourbon in a renovated France; his memoirs depict in a favorable light the actions of his parlement (an institution soon to be abolished towards the end of the year 1789, under growing revolutionary pressures).

For some time, and especially during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), Pasquier remained in obscurity; but this did not save him from arrest in the year 1794. He was thrown into prison shortly before the start of Thermidorian Reaction (July 1794) which overthrew Maximilien Robespierre. Consequently, Pasquier regained his liberty and his property.

Empire

He did not re-enter the public service until the period of the First French Empire, when the arch-chancellor Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès used his influence with Napoleon Bonaparte to procure for him the office of maître des requêtes to the Conseil d'État. In 1809 he became baron of the Empire, and in February 1810 counsellor of state. Napoleon in 1810 made him prefect of police.

The main challenge of his career was the strange conspiracy of the republican general Claude François de Malet (October 1812); Malet, spreading false news that Napoleon had died in the Russian campaign, managed to surprise and capture some of the ministers and other authorities in Paris, among them Pasquier. However, the attempt's manifest failure enabled Pasquier to speedily to regain his liberty.

Restoration and July Monarchy

When Napoleon abdicated in April 1814 Pasquier continued to exercise his functions for a few days in order to preserve order, and then resigned the prefecture of police, whereupon Louis XVIII of France allotted to him the Corps des Ponts et Chaussées. He distanced himself from the Imperial restoration at the time of the Hundred Days (1815), and after the final Bourbon Restoration, became Keeper of the Seal (July 1815). Finding it impossible to work with the Ultra-royalists of the Chamber of Deputies (the Chambre introuvable), he resigned office in September. Under the more moderate ministers of succeeding years he again held various appointments, but refused to join the reactionary cabinets of the close of the reign of Charles X of France.

After the July Revolution (1830) he became president of the Chamber of Peers a post which he held through the whole of the reign of Louis-Philippe of France (1830–1848). After the overthrow of Louis Philippe in February 1848, Pasquier retired from active life and set to work to compile the notes and reminiscences of his long and active career.

References

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain. In turn, it cites as references:
    • Mémoires du Chancelier Pasquier (6 vols., Paris, 1893–1895; partly translated into English, 4 vols., London, 1893–1894)
    • L. de Vieilcastel, Histoire de la Restauration, vols. i.iv.
Political offices
Preceded by
Antoine Boulay de la Meurthe
Minister of Justice
1815
Succeeded by
François de Barbé-Marbois
Preceded by
Charles-Henri Dambray
Minister of Justice
1817–1818
Succeeded by
Pierre François Hercule de Serre
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