A Statesman and a soldier
He was born in Nîmes, the son of Antoine Chabaud-Latour, deputy for the Gard department. He studied at the Ecole Polytechnique, and became a military engineer. He took part in various campaigns, especially in Algeria, and was aide-de-camp to the Duc d’Orléans. From 1837 to 1848 he was député for the Gard. He then joined the army once more and was promoted general in 1853. In 1870, he worked with the committee for the fortifications of Paris. He commanded the Engineering Corps during the siege of Paris.
In 1871 he was once again elected député for the Gard, as member of the centre-right party. He was Minister for the Interior from July 1874 to March 1875 in the Second cabinet for Moral Order, with Cornélis de Witt, Guizot’s son-in-law, as under-Secretary of State. Many Protestants have reproached this very conservative man with his clericalism. He did not hesitate to approve measures restricting both publicity for civil funerals and even the freedom of evangelization.
Advocate of the evangelical trend
He belonged to a very influential group of lay evangelicals in the administration of the Reformed Church in Paris. In 1859, the government appointed him to the Conseil Central des Eglises Réformées (Central Council of the Reformed Churches), where he defended the evangelicals’ opinions ; he was to be very active in the various groups organized by the latter to oppose the liberals. In 1866, he was chosen to chair the Paris Reformed Church’s Société fraternelle pour l’évangélisation paroissiale . In 1868 he succeeded F.Delessert as chairman of the Société biblique de France (French Bible Society) established by the evangelicals in 1864 after the split in the Société biblique protestante de Paris. In 1872, he attended the General Synod of the Reformed Church as lay representative of the Eglise de Paris.
- CABANEL Patrick et ENCREVE André , Dictionnaire biographique des protestants français, de 1787 à nos jours, Editions de Paris - Max Chaleil, Paris, 2015, Tome 1 : A-C
The Reformation required that every believer should be capable of reading the Bible. One of the main concerns of the leaders of re-established the Protestant Church was to make this possible. Implementing such a project met some opposition.
For French Protestants, the nineteenth century represented the period of “reintegration” or “rebirth”. After more than a century-long ban, everything or nearly everything had to be rebuilt. The Concordat rule gave them the means to restructure and consolidate what already existed. But the new religious pluralism, although of a limited range, prompted to go further. Such was the ambition of the Protestant Evangelists : turn the Concordat rule, not into a cocoon but into a springboard to put the Reformation once more on the way in France.
Philippe Aristide Denfert-Rochereau (1823-1878)
Frédéric Engel-Dollfus (1818-1883)
Frédéric Engel-Dollfus was a protestant and a textile industrialist concerned about conditions for the working class.
The Delessert Family
The Delesserts were a well-known Parisian protestant family who made valuable contributions to the silk trade and banking ; they also set up the first French cotton mill and founded the Caisse d’Epargne. They gave plots of land which they owned in the 16th arrondissement to the Church, later to be used for the construction of the temple of Passy-Annonciation and adjacent Church buildings.
Charles Mallet (1815-1902)
Charles Mallet is first an associate, then the chairman of the Protestant bank Mallet Frères & Cie which plays a major role in industrial development both in France and abroad during the second half of the 19th century.
Napoléon Peyrat (1809–1881)
Napoléon Peyrat came from the Protestant part of the Ariège; he wrote a history about this area in both French and Southern French dialect (‘langue d’oc’) in which he described its traditions and the riches of its cultural inheritance. His work on French Protestantism at the time of the ‘Desert’ (secret assemblies) (1685 – 1791) and the Cathars was widely recognized. He was a pastor at the church of Saint Germain en Laye in Paris. During his time there he witnessed the siege of Paris by the German army (1870 -71).