• Guy Chapman


In the autumn of 1887 the public learned — by a devious route involving two ladies of easy virtue — that the son-in-law of the President of the Republic, Daniel Wilson, had been abusing his position by trafficking in decorations. This Wilson, a tall man with a flaming beard, was the son of Daniel Wilson the Scotch engineer, some time of Le Creusot, who had later made a fortune out of the Paris gas companies. When he died his money was divided between his daughter, the wife of a scientist and the owner of the splendid château de Chenonceau on the Cher, and his son. This Daniel1 seems to have run through his share of the money during the early sixties, and then, to recoup his fortune, had gone in for politics. In 1869 he was elected for Indre-et-Loire as an Independent, by methods which went as close to bribery as is possible without direct payment. After 1870 he had carried on his career as Republican deputy for Loches, a member of the Chamber Finance commission, and the permanent and unscrupulous enemy of Gambetta. In October 1881 he married Grévy’s daughter and took up his residence in the Elysée Palace. He was spoken of as a ‘business man’, but this seems to have been no more than the foundation of some unimportant provincial papers, which, as son-in-law of the President, he forced on unwilling subscribers and unwilling advertisers. In addition he ran a brisk trade in decorations through the agency of various lowlived characters, coupled with a senator, and also one of the assistant chiefs-of-staff at the War Office, Caffarel, who had been appointed by Boulanger. This, since Boulanger was not involved, would have been unimportant but for the fact that, in an interview, the general asserted the enquiry was directed against him, and then criticised the War On this Ferron gave him thirty days close arrest. Not a Radical came to his aid. Boulanger spent much of the time in the company of his mistress, a Madame de Bonnemains, who had taken up residence at a hotel a few miles away.


Direct Payment Successful Election Railway Convention Alleged Corruption Dark Horse 
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Copyright information

© Guy Chapman 1962

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guy Chapman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeedsUK

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