The eminent defender of Belfort
Born in Saint-Maixent (Deux-Sèvres), he attended secondary school in Toulouse, Poitiers and Paris. He was admitted at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1842. In 1849 he participated, as an officer, in the expedition to Rome but this was contrary to his protestant and socialist convictions (in December 1848 he was to vote for Ledru-Rollin at the presidential elections). He took part in the Crimean war and was wounded ; he was stationed in various places, like Algeria, (he was a member of the Church Parish Council – conseiller presbytéral – in Blida). He distinguished himself during the siege of Belfort in 1870-1871 : in his capacity as military governor, he organized its defence with so efficiently from November 1870 to February 1871 that after the victory of Prussia the town remained French.
In February 1871 he was elected deputy for the Haut-Rhin département, but he resigned in March when the transfer of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany was voted. In July 1871 he was re-elected in three départements. He failed to be chosen as life- senator in December 1875, but was elected deputy (depute) for Paris in 1876 and again in 1877.
A devout Protestant, he remained a life-long supporter of liberalism. In 1872, he was a candidate for the liberals at the presbyteral elections of the Paris Reformed Church, but was not elected. In 1872, as delegate to the General Synod of the Reformed Church, he defended the liberals by voting against the Declaration of Faith presented by the evangelicals.
Times of disagreement
During the second republic, the planned restitution of the synodal system was never accomplished. In 1852 Napoleon III reinstated local churches, but the lack of a central authority led to conflicts because of doctrinal dissensions between liberals and evangelists.
Theological liberalism was characterised by its extended freedom in doctrinal matters and by a new approach to the Bible resulting from the historical-critical methods of reading.
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.
Eugène Réveillaud (1851-1935)
Germaine de Staël (1766-1817)
Germaine de Staël was a major figure of the pre-romantic period and was herself already a true romantic in outlook. Due to her political standpoint she had to flee several times to her father’s manor in Coppet, near Geneva and to several other towns in Europe. One can find a historical account of the ideas influencing society between 1780 and 1817 in her works.
Henri Dunant (1828-1910)
Founder of the Red Cross
Jean Léopold Frédéric Cuvier, known as Georges (1769-1832)