Théophile Delcassé

Théophile Delcassé

Delcassé, Théophile, 1852-1923, French foreign minister. He began his career as a political journalist and then turned to politics. First undersecretary and then minister for the colonies (1893-95), he became foreign minister in 1898 and remained in office until 1905. Commencing with the Fashoda Incident, in which his conciliatory attitude marked the start of a Franco-British rapprochement, he greatly influenced the alignment of European powers prior to World War I. The Entente Cordiale with Great Britain (1904), for which he was largely responsible, settled colonial differences between the two nations, particularly in Morocco and Egypt; France agreed to recognize the British occupation of Egypt in return for British acknowledgment of French interests in Morocco. This convention opened the way for the Triple Entente (1907) between Great Britain, France, and Russia (see Triple Alliance and Triple Entente). During Delcassé's tenure as foreign minister, Franco-Russian relations were cemented (1899) by the extension of the Franco-Russian alliance of 1894, and a secret nonaggression treaty was signed (1902) between France and Italy that neutralized Italian membership in the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. In 1905, Delcassé proposed the establishment of a French protectorate over Morocco. Emperor William II of Germany visited Tangier and proclaimed his country's support of Moroccan independence. Delcassé urged his government to stand firm, but the fear of war with Germany caused the French to oppose Delcassé, and he resigned. Delcassé was later naval minister (1911-13) and foreign minister (1914-15).

See biography by C. W. Porter (1936); C. Andrew, Théophile Delcassé and the Making of the Entente Cordiale (1968).

Théophile-Jules Pelouze (also known as Jules Pelouze, Théophile Pelouze, Theo Pelouze, or TJ Pelouze, February 26, 1807 - 1867) was a French chemist. He was born at Valognes, and died in Paris.

His father, Edmond Pelouze, was an industrial chemist and the author of several technical handbooks. The son, after spending some time in a pharmacy at La Fère acted as laboratory assistant to Gay-Lussac and Jean Louis Lassaigne at Paris from 1827 to 1829. In 1830 he was appointed associate professor of chemistry at Lille, but returning to Paris next year became repetiteur, and subsequently professor at the École polytechnique. He also held the chair of chemistry at the Collège de France, and in 1833 became assayer to the mini and in 1848 president of the Commission des Monnaies. He resigned all his public positions in 1852.

After the coup d'état in 1851 he resigned his appointments, but continued to conduct an experimental laboratory-school he had started in 1846. There he worked with the explosive material guncotton and other nitrosulphates. His student Ascanio Sobrero was the discoverer of nitroglycerin, and another student, Alfred Nobel, was to take that discovery on to great heights in the form of commercial explosives including dynamite.

Though Pelouze made no discovery of outstanding importance, he was a busy investigator, his work including researches on salicin, on beetroot sugar, on various organic acids (gallic, malic, tartaric, butyric, lactic, etc.), on oenanthic ether (with Liebig), on the nitrosulphates, on guncotton, and on the composition and manufacture of glass.

He also carried out determinations of the atomic weights of several elements, and with E. Fremy, published Traité de chimie générale (1847-1850); Abrégé de chimie (1848); and Notions générales de chimie (1853).

He and his wife Marguerite lived in the famous French castle Château de Chenonceau from 1864 until his death in 1867; she continued to inhabit it until at least 1878.


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