Charles Alexandre Dupuy - Encyclopedia

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CHARLES ALEXANDRE DUPUY (1851-), French statesman, was born at Le Puy on the 5th of November 1851, his father being a local official. After being a professor of philosophy in the provinces, he was appointed a school inspector, and thus obtained a practical acquaintance with the needs of French education. In 1885 he was elected to the chamber as an Opportunist Republican. After acting as "reporter" of the budget for public instruction, he became minister for the department, in M. Ribot's cabinet, in 1892. In April 1893 he formed a ministry himself, taking as his office that of minister of the interior, but resigned at the end of November, and on 5th December was elected president of the chamber. During his first week of office an anarchist, Vaillant, who had managed to gain admission to the chamber, threw a bomb at the president, and M. Dupuy's collected bearing, and his historic words: "Messieurs, la seance continue," gained him much credit. In May 1894 he again became premier and minister of the interior; and he was by President Carnot's side when the latter was stabbed to death at Lyons in June. He then became a candidate for the presidency, but was defeated, and his cabinet remained in office till January 1895; it was under it that Captain Dreyfus was arrested and condemned (23rd of December 1894). The progress of l'a[,iaire then cast its shadow upon M. Dupuy, along with other French "ministrables," but in November 1898, after M. Brisson had at last remitted the case to the judgment of the court of cassation, he formed a cabinet of Republican concentration. In view of the apparent likelihood that the judges of the criminal division of the court of cassation - who formed the ordinary tribunal for such an appeal - would decide in favour of Dreyfus, it was thought that M. Dupuy's new cabinet would be strong enough to reconcile public opinion to such a result; but, to the surprise of outside observers, it was no sooner discovered how the judges were likely to decide than M. Dupuy proposed a law in the chamber transferring the decision to a full court of all the divisions of the court of cassation. This arbitrary act, though adopted by the chamber, was at once construed as a fresh attempt to maintain the judgment of the first court-martial; but in the interval President Faure (an anti-Dreyfusard) died, and the accession of M. Loubet doubtless had some effect in quieting public feeling. At all events, the whole court of cassation decided that there must be a new court-martial, and M. Dupuy at once resigned (June 1899). In June 1900 he was elected senator for the Haute Saone.

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