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François Guizot

François Pierre Guillaume Guizot (October 4, 1787 -September 12, 1874) was a French historian, orator and statesman.

He was born at Nîmes of a bourgeoisProtestant family. His parents, at the time of their union, could not be publicly or legally married by a Protestant pastor, and the ceremony had to take place in secret. The liberal opinions of his family did not, however, save them from the sanguinary intolerance of the Reign of Terror, and on April 8 1794 his father died on the scaffold at Nîmes. From then on, the boy's mother was completely responsible for his upbringing. She was a woman of slight appearance and of homely manners, but had great strength of character and judgment.

Madame Guizot was a typical Huguenot of the 16th century, stern in her principles and faith, immovable in her convictions and sense of duty. She formed the character of her son and shared every vicissitude of his life. In the days of his power her simple figure, always clad in deep mourning for her martyred husband, remained part of the splendid circle of his political friends. In the days of his exile in 1848 she followed him to London, and there at a very advanced age died and was buried at Kensal Green.

Driven from Nîmes by the Revolution, Madame Guizot and her son went to Geneva, where he was educated. In spite of her decided Calvinistic opinions, the theories of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, influenced Madame Guizot. She was a strong Liberal, and she even adopted the notion inculcated in Emile that every man ought to learn a manual trade or craft. Guizot was taught to be a carpenter, and succeeded in making a table with his own hands, which is still preserved. In the work which he entitled Memoirs of my own Times Guizot omitted all personal details of his earlier life. His literary attainments must have been considerable, for when he arrived in Paris in 1805 to pursue his studies in the faculty of law, he entered at eighteen as tutor into the family of M. Stapfer, formerly Swiss minister in France, and he soon began to write in a journal edited by Suard, the Publiciste. This connexion introduced him to the literary society of Paris.

In October 1809, aged twenty-two, he wrote a review of François-René de Chateaubriand's Martyrs, which won Chateaubriand's approbation and thanks, and he continued to contribute largely to the periodical press. At Suard's he had made the acquaintance of Pauline Meulan, an accomplished lady fourteen years his senior, who had been forced by the hardships of the Revolution to earn her living by literature, and who was engaged to contribute a series of articles to Suard's journal. These contributions were interrupted by her illness, but immediately resumed and continued by an unknown hand. It was discovered that Francois Guizot had substituted for her. The acquaintance ripened,into friendship and love, and in 1812 Mademoiselle de Meulan married her youthful ally. She died in 1827; she was the author of many esteemed works on female education. An only son, born in 1819, died in 1837 of consumption. In 1828 Guizot married Elisa Dillon, niece of his first wife, and also an author. She died in 1833, leaving a son, Maurice Guillaume (1833-1892), who attained some reputation as a scholar and writer.

During the empire, Guizot, entirely devoted to literary pursuits, published a collection of French synonyms (1809), an essay on the fine arts (1811), and a translation of Edward Gibbon's work, with additional notes, in 1812. These works recommended him to the notice of de Fontanes, grand-master of the university of France, who selected Guizot for the chair of modern history at the Sorbonne in 1812. His first lecture (reprinted in his Memoirs) was delivered on 11 December of that year. He omitted the customary compliment to the all-powerful emperor, in spite of the hints given him by his patron, but the course which followed marks the beginning of the great revival of historical research in France in the 19th century. He had now acquired a considerable position in Paris society, and the friendship of Royer-Collard and leading members of the liberal party, including the young duc de Broglie. Absent from Paris at the moment of the fall of Napoleon in 1814, he was at once selected, on the recommendation of Royer-Collard, to serve the government of King Louis XVIII, in the capacity of secretary-general of the ministry of the interior, under the abbé de Montesquiou. Upon the return of Napoleon from Elba he immediately resigned, on March 25 1815, and returned to his literary pursuits.

After the Hundred Days, he repaired to Ghent, where he saw Louis XVIII, and in the name of the liberal party pointed out that a frank adoption of a liberal policy could alone secure the duration of the restored monarchy - advice which was ill-received by the king's confidential advisers. This visit to Ghent, at a time when France was prey to a second invasion, was made a subject of bitter reproach to Guizot in after life by his political opponents, as an unpatriotic action. "The Man of Ghent" was one of the terms of insult frequently used against him in the days of his power. The reproach appears to be wholly unfounded. The true interests of France were not in the defence of the falling empire, but in establishing a liberal policy on a monarchical basis and in combating the reactionary tendencies of the ultra-royalists. It is remarkable circumstance that a young professor of twenty-seven, with none of the advantages of birth or political experience, should have been selected to convey so important a message to the ears of the king of France, and a proof, if any were wanting, that the Revolution had, as Guizot said, "done its work.''

On the second restoration, Guizot was appointed secretary-general of the ministry of justice under de Barbé-Marbois, but resigned with his chief in 1816. Again in 1819 he was appointed general director of communes and departments in the ministry of the interior, but lost his office with the fall of Decazes in February 1820. During these years Guizot was one of the leaders of the Doctrinaires, a small party strongly attached to the charter and the crown, and advocating a policy which has become associated (especially by Émile Faguet) with the name of Guizot, that of the juste milieu, a via media between absolutism and popular government. Their opinions had more of the rigour of a sect than the elasticity of a political party. Adhering to the great principles of liberty and toleration, they were sternly opposed to the anarchical traditions of the Revolution. The elements of anarchy were still fermenting in the country; these they hoped to subdue, not by reactionary measures, but by the firm application of the power of a limited constitution, based on the suifrage of the middle class and defended by the highest literary talent of the times. They were opposed alike to the democratic spirit of the age, to the military traditions of the empire, and to the bigotry and absolutism of the court. The fate of such a party might be foreseen. They lived by a policy of resistance; they perished by another revolution (1830). They are remembered more for their constant opposition to popular demands than by the services they undoubtedly rendered to the cause of temperate freedom.

In 1820, when the reaction was at its height after the murder of the duc de Bern, and the fail of the ministry of the due Decazes, Guizot was deprived of his offices, and in 1822 even his course of lectures were interdicted. During the succeeding years he played an important part among the leaders of the liberal opposition to the government of Charles X, although he had not yet entered parliament, and this was also the time of his greatest literary activity. In 1822 he had published his lectures on representative government (Histoire des origines du gouvernernent representatif, 1821-1822, 2 vols.; Eng. trans. 1852); also a work on capital punishment for political offences and several important political pamphlets. From 1822 to 1830 he published two important collections of historical sources, the memoirs of the history of England in 26 volumes, and the memoirs of the history of France in 31 volumes, and a revised translation, of Shakespeare, and a volume of essays on the history of France. The most remarkable work from his own pen was the first part of his Histoire de la revolution d'Angleterre depuis Charles I a Charles II (2 vols., 1826-1827; Eng. trans., 2 vols., Oxford, 1838), a book of great merit and impartiality, which he resumed and completed during his exile in England after 1848. The Martignac administration restored Guizot in 1828 to his professor's chair and to the council of state. Then it was that he delivered the celebrated courses of lectures which raised his reputation as an historian to the highest point of fame, and placed him amongst the best writers of France and of Europe. These lectures formed the basis of his general Histoire de la civilisation en Europe (1828; Eng. trans. by William Hazlitt, 3 vols., 1846), and of his Histoire de la civilisation en France (4 vols., 1830), works which must ever be regarded as classics of modern historical research.

Guizot's fame rested on his merits as a writer on public affairs and as a lecturer on modern history. He was forty-three before he made a full display of his oratorical strength. In January 1830 he was elected by the town of Lisieux to the chamber of deputies, and he retained that seat during the whole of his political life. Guizot immediately assumed an important position in the representative assembly, and the first speech he delivered was in defence of the celebrated address of the 221, in answer to the menacing speech from the throne, which was followed by the dissolution of the chamber, and was the precursor of another revolution. On his returning to Paris from Nîmes on July 27, the fall of Charles X was already imminent. Guizot was called upon by his friends Casimir-Périer, Jacques Laffitte, Villemain and Dupin to draw up the protest of the liberal deputies against the royal ordinances of July, whilst he applied himself with them to control the revolutionary character of the late contest. Personally, Guizot was always of opinion that it was a great misfortune for the cause of parliamentary government in France that the infatuation and ineptitude of Charles X and Prince Polignac rendered a change in the hereditary line of succession inevitable. But, though convinced that it was inevitable, he became one of the most ardent supporters of Louis Philippe. In August 1830 Guizot was made minister of the interior, but resigned in November. He had now joined the ranks of the conservatives, and for the next eighteen years was a determined foe of democracy, the unyielding champion of "a monarchy limited by a limited number of bourgeois."

In 1831 Casimir-Périer formed a more vigorous and compact administration, terminated in May 1832 by his death; the summer of that year was marked by a formidable republican rising in Paris, and it was not till October 11 1832 that a stable government was formed, in which Marshal Soult was first minister, the duc de Brogue took the foreign office, Adolphe Thiers the home department, and Guizot the department of public instruction. This ministry, which lasted for nearly four years, was by far the ablest that ever served Louis Philippe. Guizot, however, was already unpopular with the more advanced liberal party. He remained unpopular all his life, "not," said he, " that I court unpopularity, but that I think nothing about it." Yet never were his great ibilities more useful to his country than whilst he filled this office of secondary rank but of primary importance in the department of public instruction. The duties it imposed on him were entirely congenial to his literary tastes, and he was master of the subjects they concerned. He applied himself in the first instance to carry the law of June 28 1833, and then for the next three years to put it into execution. In establishing and organizing primary education in France, this law marked a distinct epoch in French history.

In fifteen years, under its influence, the number of primary schools rose from ten to twenty-three thousand; normal schools for teachers, and a general system of inspection, were introduced; and boards of education, under mixed lay and clerical authority, were created. The secondary class of schools and the university of France were equally the subject of his enlightened protection and care, and a prodigious impulse was given to philosophical study and historical research. The branch of the Institute of France known as the "Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques," which had been suppressed by Napoleon, was revived by Guizot. Some of the old members of this learned body--Talleyrand, Sieyès, Roederer and Lakanal--again took their seats there, and a host of more recent celebrities were added by election for the free discussion of the great problems of political and social science. The "Société de l'Histoire de France" was founded for the publication of historical works; and a vast publication of medieval chronicles and diplomatic papers was undertaken at the expense of the state.

The object of the cabinet of October 1832 was to organize a conservative party, and to carry on a policy of resistance to the republican faction which threatened the existence of the monarchy. It was their pride and their boast that their measures never exceeded the limits of the law, and by the exercise of legal power alone they put down an insurrection amounting to civil war in Lyons and a sanguinary revolt in Paris. The real strength of the ministry lay not in its nominal heads, but in the fact that in this government and this alone Guizot and Thiers acted in cordial co-operation. The two great rivals in French parliamentary eloquence followed for a time the same path; but neither of them could submit to the supremacy of the other, and circumstances threw Thiers almost continuously on a course of opposition, whilst Guizot bore the graver responsibilities of power.

Once again indeed, in 1839, they were united, but it was in opposition to Mathieu Mole, who had formed an intermediate government, and this coalition between Guizot and the leaders of the left centre and the left, Thiers and Odilon Barrot, due to his ambition and jealousy of Mole, is justly regarded as one of the chief inconsistencies of his life. Victory was secured at the expense of principle, and Guizot's attack on the government gave rise to a crisis and a republican insurrection. None of the three leaders of that alliance took ministerial office, and Guizot was not sorry to accept the post of ambassador in London, which withdrew him for a time from parliamentary contests. This was in the spring of 1840, and Thiers succeeded shortly afterwards to the ministry of, foreign affairs.

Guizot was received with distinction by Queen Victoria and by London society. His literary works were highly esteemed, his character was respected, and France worthily represented abroad by one of her greatest orators. He was known to be well versed in British history and English literature, and sincerely attached to the alliance of the two nations and the cause of peace. As he himself remarked, he was a stranger to England and a novice in diplomacy; the embroiled state of the Syrian question, on which the French government had separated itself from the joint policy of Europe, and possibly the absence of entire confidence between the ambassador and the minister of foreign affairs, placed him in an embarrassing and even false position. The warnings he transmitted to Thiers were not believed. The treaty of July 15 was signed without his knowledge and executed against his advice. For some weeks Europe seemed to be on'the brink of war, until the king ended the crisis by refusing his assent to the military preparations of Thiers, and by summoning Guizot from London to form a ministry and to aid his Majesty in what he termed "ma lutte tenace contre l'anarchie."

Thus began, under dark and adverse circumstances, on October 29 1840, the important administration in which Guizot remained the master-spirit for nearly eight years. He himself took the office of minister for foreign affairs, to which he added some years later, on the retirement of Marshal Soult, the ostensible rank of prime minister. His first care was the maintenance of peace and the restoration of amicable relations with the other powers of Europe. If he succeeded, as he did succeed, in calming the troubled elements and healing the wounded pride of France, the result was due mainly to the indomitable courage and splendid eloquence with which he faced a raging opposition, gave unity and strength to the conservative party, who now felt that they had a great leader at their head, and appealed to the thrift and prudence of the nation rather than to their vanity and their ambition. In his pacific task he was fortunately seconded by the formation of Sir Robert Peel's administration in England, in the autumn of 1841. Between Lord Palmerston and Guizot there existed a dangerous incompatibility of character.

With Palmerston in office, Guizot felt that he had a bitter and active antagonist in every British agent throughout the world; the combative element was strong in his own disposition, and the result was perpetual conflict and counter-intrigues. Lord Palmerston wrote that war between England and France was, sooner or later, inevitable. Guizot believed that such a war would be the greatest of all calamities, and never contemplated it. In Lord Aberdeen, the foreign secretary of Sir Robert Peel, Guizot found a friend and ally perfectly congenial to himself. Their acquaintance in London had been slight, but it soon ripened into mutual regard and confidence. They were both men of high principles and honour; the Scottish Presbyterianism which had moulded the faith of Aberdeen was reflected in the Huguenot minister of France; both were men of simple taste, refinement of scholarship and culture; both had an intense aversion to war and felt ill-qualified to carry on those adventurous operations which inflamed the imagination of their respective opponents. In the eyes of Lord Palmerston and Thiers their policy was mean and pitiful; but it was a policy which secured peace to-the world, and united the two great and free nations of the West in what was termed the entente cordiale. Neither of them would have stooped to snatch an advantage at the expense of the other; they held the common interest of peace and friendship to be paramount; and when differences arose, as they did arise, in remote parts of the world,--in Tahiti, in Morocco, on the Gold Coast,--they were reduced by this principle to their proper insignificance. The opposition in France denounced Guizot's foreign policy as basely subservient to England. He replied in terms of unmeasured contempt--"You may raise the pile of calumny as high as you will; vous n'arriverez jamais a la hauteur de mon dédain!" The opposition in England attacked Lord Aberdeen with the same reproaches, but in vain. King Louis Philippe visited Windsor. Queen Victoria (in 1843) stayed at the Château d'Eu. In 1845 British and French troops fought side by side for the first time in an expedition to the River Plate.

The fall of Peel's government in 1846 changed these intimate relations; and the return of Palmerston to the foreign office led Guizot to believe that he was again exposed to the passionate rivalry of the British cabinet. A friendly understanding had been established at Eu between the two courts with reference to the future marriage of the young queen of Spain. The language of Lord Palmerston and the conduct of Sir Henry Bulwer (afterwards Lord Dalling) at Madrid led Guizot to believe that this understanding was broken, and that it was intended to place a Coburg on the throne of Spain. Determined to resist any such intrigue, Guizot and the king plunged headlong into a counter-intrigue, wholly inconsistent with their previous engagements to Britain, and fatal to the happiness of the queen of Spain. By their influence she was urged into a marriage with a despicable offset of the house of Bourbon, and her sister was at the same time married to the youngest son of the French king, in direct violation of Louis Philippe's promises. This transaction, although it was hailed at the time as a triumph of the policy of France, was in truth as fatal to the monarch as it was discreditable to the minister. It was accomplished by a mixture of secrecy and violence. It was defended by subterfuges. By the dispassionate judgment of history it has been universally condemned. Its immediate effect was to destroy the Anglo-French alliance, and to throw Guizot into closer relations with the reactionary policy of Metternich and the Northern courts.

The history of Guizot's administration, the longest and the last which existed under the constitutional monarchy of France, bears the stamp of the great qualities and the great defects of his political character, for he was throughout the master-spirit of that government. his first object was to unite and discipline the conservative party, which had been broken up by previous dissensions and ministerial changes. In this he entirely succeeded by his courage and eloquence as a parliamentary leader, and by the use of all those means of influence which France too liberally supplies to a dominant minister. No one ever doubted the purity and disinterestedness of Guizot's own conduct. He despised money; he lived and died poor; and though he encouraged the fever of money-getting in the French nation, his own habits retained their primitive simplicity. But he did not disdain to use in others the baser passions from which he was himself free. Some of his instruments were mean; he employed them to deal with meanness after its kind. Gross abuses and breaches of trust came to light even in the ranks of the government, and under an incorruptible minister the administration was denounced as corrupt. Licet uti alieno vitio is a proposition as false in politics as it is in divinity.

Of his parliamentary eloquence it is impossible to speak too highly. It was terse, austere, demonstrative and commanding,--not persuasive, not humorous, seldom adorned, but condensed with the force of a supreme authority in the fewest words. He was essentially a ministerial speaker, far more powerful in defence than in opposition. Like Pitt he was the type of authority and resistance, unmoved by the brilliant charges, the wit, the gaiety, the irony and the discursive power of his great rival. Nor was he less a master of parliamentary tactics and of those sudden changes and movements in debate which, as in a battle, sometimes change the fortune of the day. His confidence in himself, and in the majority of the chamber which he had moulded to his will, was unbounded; and long success and the habit of authority led him to forget that in a country like France there was a people outside the chamber elected by a small constituency, to which the minister and the king himself were held responsible.

A government based on the principle of resistance and repression and marked by dread and distrust of popular power, a system of diplomacy which sought to revive the traditions of the old French monarchy, a sovereign who largely exceeded the bounds of constitutional power and whose obstinacy augmented with years, a minister who, though far removed from the servility of the courtier, was too obsequious to the personal influence of the king, were all singularly at variance with the promises of the Revolution of July, and they narrowed the policy of the administration. Guizot's view of politics was essentially historical and philosophical. His tastes and his acquirements gave him little insight into the practical business of administrative government. Of finance he knew nothing; trade and commerce were strange to him; military and naval affairs were unfamiliar to him; all these subjects he dealt with by second hand through his friends, PS Dumon (1797-1870), Charles Marie Tanneguy, Comte Duchâttel (1803-1867), or Marshal Bugeaud. The consequence was that few measures of practical improvement were carried by his administration. Still less did the government lend an ear to the cry for parliamentary reform.

On this subject the king's prejudices were insurmountable, and his ministers had the weakness to give way to them. It was impossible to defend a system which confined the suffrage to 200,000 citizens, and returned a chamber of whom half were placemen. Nothing would have been easier than to strengthen the conservative party by attaching the suffrage to the possession of land in France, but blank resistance was the sole answer of the government to the just and moderate demands of the opposition. Warning after warning was addressed to them in vain by friends and by foes alike; and they remained profoundly unconscious of their danger till the moment when it overwhelmed them. Strange to say, Guizot never acknowledged either at the time or to his dying day the nature of this error; and he speaks of himself in his memoirs as the much-enduring champion of liberal government and constitutional law. He utterly fails to perceive that a more enlarged view of the liberal destinies of France and a less intense confidence in his own specific theory might have preserved the constitutional monarchy and averted a vast series of calamities, which were in the end fatal to every principle he most cherished. But with the stubborn conviction of absolute truth he dauntlessly adhered to his own doctrines to the end.

The last scene of his political life was singularly characteristic of his inflexible adherence to a lost cause. In the afternoon of February 23, 1848 the king summoned his minister from the chamber, which was then sitting, and informed him that the aspect of Paris and the country during the banquet agitation for reform, and the alarm and division of opinion in the royal family, led him to doubt whether he could retain his ministry. That doubt, replied Guizot, is decisive of the question, and instantly resigned, returning to the chamber only to announce that the administration was at an end and that Mole had been sent for by the king, Mole failed in the attempt to form a government, and between midnight and one in the morning Guizot, who had according to his custom retired early to rest, was again sent for to the Tuileries. The king asked his advice. "We are no longer the ministers of your Majesty," replied Guizot; "it rests with others to decide on the course to be pursued. But one thing appears to be evident: this street riot must be put down; these barricades must be taken; and for this purpose my opinion is that Marshal Bugeaud should be invested with full power, and ordered to take the necessary military measures, and as your Majesty has at this moment no minister, I am ready to draw up and countersign such an order." The marshal, who was present, undertook the task, saying, "I have never been beaten yet, and I shall not begin to-morrow. The barricades shall be carried before dawn." After this display of energy the king hesitated, and soon added: "I ought to tell you that M. Thiers and his friends are in the next room for,ming a government!" Upon this Guizot rejoined, "Then it rests with them to do what they think fit," and left the palace. Thiers and Barrot decided to withdraw the troops. The king and Guizot next met at Claremont. This was the most perilous conjuncture of Guizot's life, but fortunately he found a safe refuge in Paris for some days in the lodging of a humble miniature painter whom he had befriended, and shortly afterwards effected his escape across the Belgian frontier and thence to' London, where he arrived on the 3rd of March. His mother and daughters had preceded him, and he was speedily installed in a modest habitation in Pelham Crescent, Brompton.

The society of England, though many persons disapproved of much of his recent policy, received the fallen statesman with as much distinction and respect as they had shown eight years before to the king's ambassador. Sums of money were placed at his disposal, which he declined. A professorship at Oxford was spoken of, which he was unable to accept. He stayed in England about a year, devoting himself again to history. He published two more volumes on the English revolution, and in 1854 his Histoire de la republique d'Angleterre et de Cromwell (2 vols., 1854), then his Histoire du protectorat de Cromwell et du rétablisseinent des Stuarts (2 vols., 1856). He also published an essay on Peel, and amid many essays on religion, during the ten years 1858-1868, appeared the extensive Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire de mon temps, in nine volumes. His speeches were included in 1863 in his Histoire parlementaire de la France (5 vols. of parliamentary speeches, 1863).

Guizot survived the fall of the monarchy and the government he had served twenty-six years. He passed abruptly from the condition of one of the most powerful and active statesmen in Europe to the condition of a philosophical and patriotic spectator of human affairs. He was aware that the link between himself and public life was broken for ever; and he never Inade the slightest attempt to renew it. He was of no party, a member of no political body; no murmur of disappointed ambition, no language of asperity, ever passed his lips; it seemed as if the fever of oratorical debate and ministerial power had passed from him and left him a greater man than he had been before, in the pursuit of letters, in the conversation of his friends, and as head of the patriarchal circle of those he loved. The greater part of the year he spent at his residence at Val Richer, an Augustine monastery near Lisieux in Normandy, which had been sold at the time of the first Revolution. His two daughters, who married two descendants of the illustrious Dutch family of De Witt, so congenial in faith and manners to the Huguenots of France, kept his house. One of his sons-in-law farmed the estate. And here Guizot devoted his later years with undiminished energy to literary labour, which was in fact his chief means of subsistence. Proud, independent, simple and contented he remained to the last; and these years of retirement were perhaps the happiest and most serene portion of his life.

Two institutions may be said even under the second empire to have retained their freedom-the Institute of France and the Protestant Consistory. In both of these Guizot continued to the last to take an active part. He was a member of three of the five academies into which the Institute of France is divided. The Academy of Moral and Political Science owed its restoration to him, and he became in 1832 one of its first associates. The Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres elected him in 1833 as the successor to M Dacier; and in 1836 he was chosen a member of the French Academy, the highest literary distinction of the country. In these learned bodies Guizot continued for nearly forty years to take a lively interest and to exercise a powerful influence. He was the jealous champion of their independence. His voice had the greatest weight in the choice of new candidates; the younger generation of French writers never looked in vain to him for encouragement; and his constant aim was to maintain the dignity and purity of the profession of letters.

In the consistory of the Protestant church in Paris Guizot exercised a similar influence. His early education and his experience of life conspired to strengthen the convictions of a religious temperament. He remained through life a firm believer in the truths of revelation, and a volume of Meditations on the Christian Religion was one of his latest works. But though he adhered inflexibly to the church of his fathers and combated the rationalist tendencies of the age, which seemed to threaten it with destruction, he retained not a tinge of the intolerance or asperity of the Calvinistic creed. He respected in the Church of Rome the faith of the majority of his countrymen; and the writings of the great Catholic prelates, Bossuet and Bourdaloue, were as familiar and as dear to him as those of his own persuasion, and were commonly used by him in the daily exercises of family worship.

In these literary pursuits and in the retirement of Val Richer years passed smoothly and rapidly away; and as his grandchildren grew up around him, he began to direct their attention to the history of their country. From these lessons sprang his last and not his least work, the Histoire de France racontée a mes petits enfants, for although this publication assumed a popular form, it is not less complete and profound than it is simple and attractive. The history came down to 1789, and was continued to 1870 by his daughter Madame Guizot de Witt from her father's notes.

Down to the summer of 1874 Guizot's mental vigour and activity were unimpaired. He died peacefully, and is said to have recited verses of Corneille and texts from Scripture on his death-bed.


See his own Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire de mon temps (8 vols., 1858-1861); Lettres de M. Guizot a sa famille et a ses amis (1884); CA Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi (vol. 1., 1857) and Nouveaux Lundis (vols. i. and ix., 1863-1872); E Scherer, Etudes critiques sur la littérature contemporaine (vol. iv., 1873); Mme de Witt, Guizot dans sa famille (1880); Jules Simon, Thiers, Guizot et Rémusat (1885); E Faguet, Politiques et moralistes au XIX' siècle (1891); G Bardoux, Guizot (1894) in the series of "Les Grands Ecrivains français"; Maurice Guizot, Les Années de retraite de M. Guizot (1901); and for a long list of books and articles on Guizot in periodicals see HP Thième, Guide bibliographique de la littérature française de 1800-1906 (s.c. Guizot, Paris, 1907). For a notice of his first wife see CA Sainte-Beuve, Portraits de femmes (1884), and Ch. de Rémusat, Critiques et eludes littéraires (vol. ii., 1847).

Initial text from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. Please update as needed.