Isaac Adolphe Cremieux, a French lawyer and statesman, born of Jewish parents at Nimes, April 30, 1796. He studied law, and was admitted to the bar of his native town in 1817. Having acquired a considerable reputation by his eloquence and boldness in the defence of some victims of the royalist reaction in the south of France, he removed to Paris about 1830, but was not fortunate there in his first important forensic effort as counsel for Guernon-Ranville, a minister of Charles X., who had been arraigned as one of the authors of the ordinances of July, 1830. Overcome by the excitement of the occasion, he fainted, and was unable to continue the defence. But he soon regained his prestige in the courts, and after having purchased from Odilon Barrot his office and function as advocate, he defended with great ability Armand Marrast, Raspail, and other republicans prosecuted by the government. In 1840 he visited Turkey and Egypt, and procured the acquittal of the Jews of Damascus, who had been accused of the murder of a Catholic priest.
He took his seat in the chamber of deputies in 1842 on the extreme left, supported free-trade principles, and contributed not a little to pave the way for the revolution of 1848. When this at last broke out, he told Louis Philippe and his queen that there was no hope left, and recommended them to leave France immediately. He then proceeded to the chamber of deputies, inclined to support the regency of the duchess of Orleans; but when this became impossible, he proposed a provisional government, of which he was appointed a member, the ministry of justice being intrusted to his charge. On June 7 he left the government in consequence of the prosecution ordered by the constituent assembly against Louis Blanc, whom he defended, but remained a member of the assembly, in which he held a seat for the department of Indre-et-Loire. On Dec. 10 he voted for Louis Napoleon's election to the presidency. Returned to the legislative assembly, he was soon conspicuous among the opponents of the president, and frequently voted with the extreme left. He was arrested at the execution of the coup d'etat, Dec. 2, 1851, but was soon liberated.
He took no further part in politics until early in 1869, when he was an opposition candidate for the corps legislatif; he was defeated by his official opponent, but was elected from another district in Paris in November of that year. He opposed the plebiscite of April, 1870, and was one of the 17 members who signed the "anti-plebiscitary address." When, after the surrender of Napoleon at Sedan, the government of national defence was formed, Cre-mieux was named minister of justice, and was one of the members of the government delegation at Tours, and subsequently at Bordeaux. He resigned Feb. 10, 1871, and subsequently urged the payment of the war debt by means of voluntary contributions, offering 100,000 francs as his personal contribution. In 1873 he was elected a member of the national assembly by the city of Algiers.