Eniile Ollivier, a French politician, born in Marseilles, July 2, 1825. He is the son of Demosthene Ollivier, who was a member of the constituent assembly in 1848, and was in exile from Dec. 2, 1851, to 1860, on account of his opposition to the second empire. Emiile was beginning to practise law in Paris at the outbreak of the revolution of 1848, when Ledru-Rollin appointed him commissary general at Marseilles, and he repressed the disorders in that city. Cavaignac made him prefect there, but he was subsequently transferred to the much less important department of Haute-Marne. He resumed practice as an advocate at Paris in 1849. In 1857 he was returned to the legislative body as an opposition member for Paris, and was reelected in 1863. Early in 1867 he deserted his former political friends, declaring himself a liberal Bonapartist; he was consequently defeated at the general election in Paris in 1869, but was returned for the department of Var. In December of the same year he was chosen by Napoleon to preside as minister of justice over the administration formed according to the new constitutional programme of the empire, and his official career began on Jan. 2, 1870. He incurred odium by his subserviency to the emperor, and by declaring (July 15), in reply to the opposition of Thiers to the projected war against Germany, that his administration assumed the responsibility of it "with a light heart;" and he was often ridiculed on account of his pompous pretensions to statesmanship and eloquence.
He was obliged to resign on Aug. 9, after the first reverses of the French, being succeeded by Pali-kao, and retired to the village of Pallone in northern Italy. Owing to his official position, he had been elected to the academy, April 7, 1870, as successor of Lamartine. In February, 1874, he returned to Paris to read to a committee his opening speech, in which he extolled the fallen emperor and disparaged his opponents. Guizot rebuked his language, and he was not allowed to take his seat in the academy; but after the death of Guizot in September, he was not only admitted but actually made chancellor of the academy. His first wife, a daughter of Liszt the pianist, died in 1862.