1848-1874: Monsieur Guizot’s retirement years

Monsieur Guizot’s retirement years

D'après Paul BAUDRY (1828-1886), Léopold FLAMENG, Portrait de François Guizot. Gravure. Collection particulière. Cliché François Louchet.He soon regained his extraordinary vitality. The decision to dismiss proceedings against him was issued in November 1848 but he only returned to Val-Richer in July, 1849. In January, he had published a very successful but controversial book On Democracy in France which had contributed to his resounding failure to be re-elected in Calvados in the May 1849 elections, which took place during his absence. His actions to reunite the Bourbon and Orléans dynasties soon appeared to be in vain. In 1850 he married his daughters Henriette and Pauline to the brothers Conrad and Cornélis de Witt. He concentrated on his activities as a historian, terminating his monumental History of the English Revolution and between 1857 and 1868, published eight volumes of his Memoirs. A leading figure in many intellectual and religious circles, he exercised a sort of moral and intellectual supremacy that maintained his position at the forefront of society, even though he spent more and more time at Val-Richer. His male, but more particularly his female friendships continued to blossom in a prolific and magnificent correspondence, a large part of which remains unpublished. The only member of three Academies of the Institute of France, in January 1861 he received the newly elected Dominican priest Father Lacordaire under the famous Coupole of the Institute, where he advocated the temporal power of the Pope, much to the dismay of his Protestant fellows. Guizot mainly dedicated his remaining years, when he was still just as active, to religious questions, supporting a small group of liberal Catholics led by Montalembert and the evangelical tendency in the Reformed Church. In 1870, he obtained agreement from the liberal Empire, which he supported, for a General Synod of the Reformed Church of France to be convened for the first time since 1659 and in which he played an important role when it finally met in 1872.

Les obsèques de François Guizot. Le Monde Illustré du 26 septembre 1874.Very affected by the death of his daughter Pauline en février 1874, in February 1874, he passed away peacefully on September 12 in Val-Richer, surrounded by his family and loved ones. The news of his death had an enormous impact, both in France and abroad.