William Maclure, an American geologist, born in Ayr, Scotland, in 1763, died at San Angel, near the city of Mexico, March 23, 1840. At 19 years of age he visited New York, but returned to London to become a partner in the commercial house of Miller, Hart, and co., in which he rapidly acquired a fortune. In 1796 he settled in the United States, and in 1803 was in Europe as one of the commissioners to settle the claims of American citizens against France for spoliations during the revolution in that country. While on the continent he travelled extensively, examining the geology of Europe, and collecting objects in natural history. On returning, he engaged with zeal in the extraordinary private undertaking of a geological survey of the whole country. He visited almost every state and territory, crossing and recross-ing the Alleghanies no fewer than 50 times.
His first communication to the public was a memoir entitled "Observations on the Geology of the United States, explanatory of a Geological Map," read before the American philosophical society, Jan. 20, 1809, and published in vol. vi. of their "Transactions." On May 16, 1817, he presented another memoir to the society, which was published in their " Transactions," and also in a separate volume with a colored map and sections. The former publication was six years prior to William Smith's improved geological map of England, a production which gave its author the title of father of English geology. To Maclure is equally due the title of father of American geology. His map presented the general range of the secondary, transition, and primitive rocks, as they were then called, with considerable accuracy; but the tertiary groups, the arranging of which really involved an acquaintance with their fossils, were very imperfectly defined. He took up his residence in Philadelphia, and joined the academy of natural sciences in that city, whose library and museum were made the recipients of his books and specimens, forming a collection then unique in the United States. From 1817 till his death he was president of the academy, and its "Journal" was commenced under his auspices.
In 1816-'17 he examined the geology of the Antilles, an account of which was published in vol. i. of the "Journal." In 1819 he visited France, and then went to Spain to establish a great agricultural school for the lower classes, in which labor should be combined with moral and intellectual culture. He purchased from the revolutionary government 10,000 acres of land near Alicante; but when his buildings were completed, the government was overthrown, and his property reverted to the church from which it had been confiscated. After a hazardous geological tour in southern Spain, he returned in 1824 to the United States. Here he attempted to establish a similar agricultural school, and removed to the New Harmony settlement in Indiana, though not adopting the peculiar views of that community. Several distinguished naturalists joined him in this enterprise. The scheme failed, but Mr. Maclure, having purchased largely of land in and around New Harmony, remained there several years in the hope of bringing his school into operation.
His health failing in 1827, he embarked for Mexico, returning the next summer; but after attending the meeting of the American geological society in New Haven, Nov. 17, 1828, as the presiding officer, he again went to Mexico. In 1834 he gave directions for the removal of his library of 2,259 volumes, with many maps and charts, from New Harmony to the academy of natural sciences; and he gave to that institution in all $20,000 to secure a suitable building for its books and collections. The American geological society at New Haven also received from him many very valuable works and specimens. Early in 1840 Maclure attempted a journey to the United States, but was obliged to return, and died on the way. While in Mexico he wrote "Opinions on Various Subjects," devoted mainly to political economy (2 vols. 8vo, New Harmony, 1837).
Marie Edme Patrice Maurice Macmahon, count de, and duke de Magenta, president of France, born at the chateau of Sully, near Autun, in 1808. His Irish ancestors had settled in Burgundy after the downfall of the Stuarts, and intermarried with illustrious French families. His father, the marquis Charles Laure de Mac-Mahon, a general and peer of France, and a personal friend of Charles X., married Mlle, de Caraman, a lady of high rank, who bore him four daughters and four sons, of whom the president is the youngest. His elder brother Joseph, like the rest of the family an ardent legitimist, retired from public life after the overthrow of Charles X., and died in 1865. MacMa-hon studied at the seminary of Autun, in a school at Versailles, and at the military academy of St. Cyr, which he left in 1827 with the grade of sub-lieutenant. In 1830 he served in Algeria, and in 1832 he was aide-de-camp of Gen. Ac-hard during the siege of Antwerp. He returned to Africa in 1833 with the commission of captain, and was severely wounded at the siege of Con-stantine in October, 1837. He was then rapidly promoted, and in 1852 he became general of division, and afterward chief commander of the military division of Constantine. He went to the Crimea in August, 1855, as commander of a division, and the capture of the Malakhoff in the following month was mainly due to his energy.
At the close of the war he took his seat in the senate, of which he had been made a member. In 1857 he again went to Africa and cooperated with Gen. Randon in the successful Kabylian expedition, after which he was placed at the head of the Algerian land and naval forces. Shortly before the outbreak of the war in Italy he attracted attention in the senate by his opposition to the restrictive measures proposed in regard to public safety. At the commencement of the campaign of 1859 he commanded the second corps, and was the first to cross the Ticino near Turbigo (June 3), arresting an Austrian column in its march on Robechetto. On June 4 he decided the brilliant victory at Magenta, for which the emperor made him duke of Magenta and marshal. On Oct. 18, 1861, the marshal officially attended, with considerable display of magnificence, the coronation of William I. of Prussia (now emperor of Germany). From October, 1862, to September, 1864, he was stationed at Lille and Nancy as military commander, and subsequently he was governor general of Algeria. His attempted conversion of the colonial administration into a purely military viceroyalty proved a complete failure; and the trouble was complicated by a famine, by MacMahon's opposition to the resident archbishop's propaganda among the natives, and by a rising in 1869 of fanatieal tribes.
This was speedily put down, and a more conciliatory policy was adopted. Mac-Mahon vindicated his course in the senate, Jan. 21, 1870, and repeatedly offered his resignation, which was not accepted. At the outset of the Franco-German war, in July, 1870, he was posted near Strasburg, in command of the first corps. A division under Gen. Abel Douay, which formed his advance guard, rashly exposed itself to an attack by the Germans near Weissenburg, and met with a disastrous defeat, which was the first French reverse (Aug. 4). To retrieve this loss MacMahon advanced, and took up his position at Worth. Its main points were speedily carried by the overwhelming forces under the Prussian crown prince, and MacMahon was utterly routed (Aug. 6), thousands of his troops and most of his artillery being captured, while the German cavalry pursued his almost panic-stricken detachments through the passes of the Vosges mountains. He rallied them with great difficulty, and retreated to Chalons. Here he was joined by the emperor, and the remnant of his soldiers, numbering barely 18,000, were reenforced to the extent of about 100,000. With this force he was ordered by Palikao to march to the relief of Bazaine at Metz, and to cooperate with that general's army.
MacMahon is said to have been desirous of moving in the direction of Paris instead of Metz, and to have marched on only in obedience to imperative orders. He had not advanced far when one of his most important corps under Gen. Failly was surprised and defeated at Beaumont (Aug. 30), driven beyond the Meuse, and compelled to retreat toward Sedan, where MacMahon consequently massed his forces. The Germans opened the battle at dawn, Sept. 1, and at 7 A. M. MacMahon was disabled by a slight wound in the thigh. He resigned his command to Ducrot, who was at once superseded by Wimpffen. MacMahon took no personal part in the capitulation, though he assumed the whole responsibility for the march on Sedan, and the catastrophe which resulted from it, before the committee at Versailles (Sept. 4, 1871). During the trial of Bazaine in 1873, testimony was produced in regard to an alleged despatch of Bazaine to MacMahon, intended to arrest the progress of the latter toward the east; but he denied having received it.
After the surrender he was allowed to remain on his parole in a Belgian village for the recovery of his health, and subsequently in Wiesbaden, until the preliminary treaty of peace in February, 1871. Early in April he was appointed by Thiers commander-in-chief of the Versailles troops operating against the commune of Paris. After his final victory over the latter (May 28) he remained in command in the capital till July 1, when Ladmirault succeeded him as governor of Paris. He declined to be a candidate for the national assembly at the supplementary election of July 2. In January, 1872, when Thiers proposed to resign, MacMahon called upon him, in behalf of the army, to remain in office. On the retirement of Thiers in consequence of an adverse vote in the assembly, May 24, 1873, the presidency was offered to MacMahon. At first he hesitated to accept it, and reminded Thiers that he had repeatedly, in the course of their frequent and amicable intercourse, volunteered the pledge that he would never supersede him. Thiers intimated that he had never accepted such a pledge; and finally, when Buffet, president of the assembly, appealed to the marshal's patriotism, he yielded, and before night sent to the assembly a formal letter of acceptance. The duke de Broglie was made prime minister.
The first presidential message (May 26) declared that "the government was resolutely conservative and determined to defend society against all factions," and closed with the words: "The post in which you have placed me is that of a sentinel who has to watch over the integrity of your sovereign powers." The military and the legitimists speedily gained ground, however, receiving many offices. On the reopening of the assembly, Nov. 5, the president urged the adoption of measures for the greater stability of the government, and it was proposed by Changarnier, as chairman of a committee of nine appointed by the assembly for the regulation of the presidential term, to extend it to ten years. MacMahon on Nov. 17 rejected this conclusion, but declared his willingness to accept a seven years' prolongation of his powers; and a vote taken in the night of Nov. 19-20 reduced the term to seven years, known as the septennate. The defeat of the electoral bill on May 16, 1874, broke up De Broglie's cabinet, and the unavailing efforts of M. de Goulard and others to form a new administration intensified the crisis.
MacMahon put an end to it on May 22 by the unexpected appointment of Gen. de Cissey as premier, and by selecting as his other ministers mostly monarchists and imperialists, all more or less obnoxious to zealous republicans. This anomalous condition of the executive branches was little calculated to allay the agitation in the assembly and the press, and MacMahon in vain demanded early in July a thorough and permanent organization of his authority. Another ministerial difficulty in the same month resulted in the substitution of Bodet for Magne as minister of finance, and of Chabaud de la Tour for Four-toul in the interior. The repeatedly urged motion for the dissolution of the assembly was rejected on the same day (July 24), together with Casimir Perier's constitutional bill; but that body adjourned from Aug. 13 to Nov. 30, after appointing a permanent committee to sit during the recess. - The Bonapartists, legitimists, and Orleanists, each seeking to make MacMahon their instrument, soon became dissatisfied with him in proportion to the failure of their conflicting schemes.
He is most distrusted by the liberals on account of his alleged ultramontanism and its supposed influence on the delicate relations between Victor Emanuel and Pius IX., and generally on account of his life-long sympathy with monarchical forms of government, his undisguised predilection for a strongly conservative and military administration, and his rigorous treatment of the press and of popular manifestations. But in his official capacity he has so far shown a desire to respect the institutions as they temporarily exist under the authority of parliamentary laws, and in the midst of the turmoil of the assembly, the clash of rival factions, and the doubts in regard to the ultimate fate of the present political experiment, he has displayed both loyalty and alacrity in guarding the vital interests of the nation. His administration has witnessed the further recovery of the country from the effects of the war, the extinction of the indemnity to Germany, and the relief of the territory from the last remnants of German occupation (Sept. 16, 1873). MacMahon put an end to the danger of complications arising from the civil war waged by the Carlists, by recognizing Serrano as chief of the Spanish executive (Aug. 13, 1874) simultaneously with the cabinets of London and Berlin. Increasing armaments in Germany and the reorganization of the French army, joined to the spirit of animosity engendered by the war, continue to give to the relations with the German empire an abnormal character; but the president shows great reluctance to disturb the apparently peaceful relations of France with Germany and other nations. - Mme. MacMahon (born duchess de Castries) is noted for her charities and social tact, and for her intimate relations with the ultramontane clergy and the old nobility.