Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Gambetta, Leon Michel (1838-1882), was the son of a small tradesman at Cahors, and was called to the Paris bar in 1859. He first attracted general notice by his attack on the Empire as counsel for the defence in the Delescluze trial in 1868. In 1869 he became deputy for Marseilles. After the fall of the Empire he was appointed Minister of the Interior, and was in Paris during part of the siege, but escaped in a balloon, and as War Minister and practically Dictator was the heart and soul of the resistance to the Germans. He was bitterly opposed to any armistice. In 1871 he had difficulties with the Government, and retired to Spain, and had no part in the troubles of the Commune. On his return he was elected for several departments, but chose to sit for the Bouches du Rhone. In 1875 he was opposed to M. Thiers, but his views in a measure triumphed in 1875, when a Republican form of Government was decreed. Iu 1877 his firmness saved the country from a possible civil war on behalf of monarchy, and though condemned to three months' imprisonment for an alleged threat against the President, he was not imprisoned, and MacMahon resigned. Gambetta would not take office, because of the refusal to adopt the scrutin de liste, but from 1878-80 he was President of the Chamber, and in 1881-82 he occupied the post of Prime Minister. He resigned, still over the question of the scrutin de liste, which the majority would not adopt, and thenceforward kept in the background in politics. He was killed by the accidental discharge of a pistol at Ville d'Avray, near Paris, on Dec. 21,1882. His speeches have been published, as has also a life.