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Pelletan, Charles Camille

PELLETAN, CHARLES CAMILLE (1846- ), French politician and journalist, was born in Paris on the 28th of June 1846, the son of Eugene Pelletan (1813-1884), a writer of some distinction and a noted opponent of the Second Empire. Camille Pelletan was educated in Paris, passed as licentiate in laws, and was qualified as an " archiviste paleographe." At the age of twenty he became an active contributor to the press, and a bitter critic of the Imperial Government. After the war of 1870-71 he took a leading place among the most radical section of French politicians, as an opponent of the " opportunists " who continued the policy of Gambetta. In 1880 he became editor of Justice, and worked with success to bring about a revision of the sentences passed on the Communards. In 1881 he was chosen member for the tenth arrondissement of Paris, and in 1885 for the Bouches du Rhone, being re-elected in 1889, 1893 and 1898; and he was repeatedly chosen as " reporter " to the various bureaus. During the Nationalist and Dreyfus agitations he fought vigorously on behalf of the Republican government and when the coalition known as the "Bloc" was formed he took his place as a Radical leader. He was made minister of marine in the cabinet of M. Combes, June 1902 to January 1905, but his administration was severely criticized, notably by M. de Lanessan and other naval experts. During the great sailors' strike at Marseilles in 1904 he showed pronounced sympathy with the socialistic aims and methods of the strikers, and a strong feeling was aroused that his Radical sympathies tended to a serious weakening of the navy and to destruction of discipline. A somewhat violent controversy resulted, in the course of which M. Pelletan's indiscreet speeches did him no good; and he became a common subject for ill-natured caricatures. On the fall of the Combes ministry he became less prominent in French politics.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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