Jean Baptiste, Baron Nothomb - Encyclopedia

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JEAN BAPTISTE NOTHOMB, Baron (1805-1881), Belgian statesman and diplomat, was born at Messancy in Luxemburg on the 3rd of July 1805. He was educated at the Athenaeum of Luxemburg and the university of Liege. He was in Luxemburg when the revolution of August broke out, but was nominated a member of the commission appointed to draw up the constitution. He was a member of the national congress, and became secretary-general of the ministry of foreign affairs under Surlet de Chokier. He supported the candidature of the duke of Nemours, and joined in the proposal to offer the crown to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, being one of the delegates sent to London. When the Eighteen Articles were replaced by the Twenty-four less favourable to Belgium, he insisted on the necessity of compliance, and in 1839 he faced violent opposition to support the territorial cessions in Limburg and Luxemburg, which had remained an open question so long as Holland refused to acknowledge the Twenty-four Articles. His Essai historique et politique sur la revolution belge (1838) won for him the praise of Palmerston and the cross of the Legion of Honour from Louis Philippe. In 1837 he became minister of public works, and to him was largely due the rapid development of the Belgian railway system, and the increase in the mining industry. In 1840 he was sent as Belgian envoy to the Germanic confederation, and in 1841, on the fall of the Lebeau ministry, he organized the new cabinet, reserving for himself the portfolio of minister of the interior. In 1845 he was defeated, and retired from parliamentary life, but he held a number of diplomatic appointments before his death at Berlin on the 6th of September 1881.

See T. Juste, Souvenirs du baron Nothomb (Brussels, 1882).

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