Ancient history

Jean-Francois-Constant Mocquard

Jean-François-Constant Mocquard (1791-1864), chief of staff to Napoleon III, who died 150 years ago, born into a family of merchants from Bordeaux, but came from Saint-Domingue, who, before assuming this position , had several lives:a private life - quite enigmatic -, in his early years, then, very briefly, that of a young diplomat with Montholon in Würzburg, followed by that of a leading liberal lawyer, and finally that of of a courageous sub-prefect – sometimes torn between the "citizen" and the "civil servant" that he was also -, in a department, "at the bottom of the Pyrenees". It is therefore the life of this man of confidence of Napoleon III, his confidant, a man of influence, of immense culture and quite original; it is a portrait that also brings an era to life and in particular the entourage of the man who was "the first president of a French republic, who then became our last sovereign".

Excerpt from the preface by Eric Anceau, Paris Sorbonne

"Mocquard was the chief of staff of the most powerful figure in France between 1848 and 1870, the first president of a French Republic who then became our last sovereign, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte-Napoleon III. He was much more than that:he was his intimate adviser, the midwife of certain ideas, the shaper of many speeches"

Excerpt from the afterword by Baron Gilbert Ameil, president of the Friends of Napoleon III - Historical Society of the Second Empire

"There is first the young carbonaro, a regular at Arenenberg, close to Queen Hortense and her readers, an early Bonapartist, then a brilliant liberal lawyer impatiently awaiting a liberalization of the regime, intervening with faith and success in several major lawsuits.

It is then a sub-prefect, a man of character, without compromise, who, having undoubtedly guessed the future rise of the last of the Bonapartes likely to lead France, having bet on his abilities - he knew him young -, awaits its time deep in France.

Finally, when it arrives, Mocquard is ready to serve the future Emperor unconditionally. Dedication, activity, fidelity, confidence mark his conduct while waiting for December 2"